Initiative and Referendum
The Association opposes any effort to establish a procedure for citizens to initiate the enactment, repeal, or amendment of any laws that would impact county government or actions taken by the county commission.

Recall of Elected Officials
The Association opposes any legislation that would allow for the recall of any elected officials in Alabama.

Property Rights
The Association opposes any legislation related to individual property rights that would unnecessarily and unreasonably impede the ability of county government to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, and to carry out its responsibilities as required by the state and federal governments, or that would result in civil action against counties when carrying out such duties.

The Association supports the utilization of condemnation powers by county governments in order to provide governmental services to Alabama’s citizens and opposes efforts to enact new constitutional limits on the legitimate utilization of condemnation for governmental purposes.

Responsibility for Federal and State Functions
The Association opposes any legislative or administrative efforts to require counties to assume or assist with any programmatic or financial responsibility for any current or future federal or state programs or functions, such as operation of the judicial system, environmental and public health programs, state corrections, voter registration, or federal or state assistance programs.

Adoption of Emergency Rules by State Agencies
The Association opposes the adoption of emergency rules by state agencies unless a significant emergency exists that can be corrected only by the adoption of the rule in question. The Association further calls on state agencies to utilize the statutory procedure for the adoption of all rules to ensure public comment and input of Alabama’s taxpayers and local governments.

Changes in County Budgeting Laws
The Association opposes any legislation to amend the statutory provisions in the law related to the adoption and administration of the county’s budget.

Open Meetings Law
The Association opposes any legislation proposing substantive changes to the Open Meetings Law enacted in 2005.

Open Records Law 
The Association opposes any legislation to rewrite Alabama’s Open Records law in a manner that would create unnecessary administrative burdens on governmental entities, allow for frivolous lawsuits to be brought against governmental entities, or provide for fines or penalties against public officials acting in good faith.  Additionally, any legislation amending current law must include liability protection for the good faith actions of the county and its officials and employees.

Publication of Public Documents
The Association supports legislation amending Alabama law to provide that any requirement to publish county documents or records in a newspaper can be satisfied by making such documents available to the public via the Internet and/or by publishing notice in the local newspaper identifying where legal notices are available online and where copies of such notices may be obtained. 

Protection of Social Security Numbers
The Association does not oppose legislation authorizing the redaction from government records of Social Security numbers and other personal information which can lead to identity theft, provided local offices are not mandated to redact this information and any such legislation provides liability protection to counties and other governmental entities for good faith actions or inactions of government officials or employees related to release of public records.

Alabama Trust Fund
The Association strongly opposes any legislation which would authorize the withdrawal of the principal of the Alabama Trust Fund or that would divert any future royalty or lease payments currently being deposited into the Alabama Trust Fund.

Alabama County and Municipal Government Capital Improvement Trust Fund
Alabama’s constitution has established an advisory committee to recommend investment and operational recommendations regarding the Alabama County and Municipal Government Capital Improvement Trust Fund.  The Association appoints three members to this committee. The Association urges the Board of Trustees of the Alabama Trust Fund to carefully consider recommendations from this committee and to seek its input and participation on issues relevant to the fund’s operation.

Referendum on Diversion of Alabama Trust Fund Revenue
The Association recommends a “no” vote on the constitutional amendment proposed by Act 2013-266, which would increase bonding authority paid from principal in the Alabama Trust Fund by $50 million resulting in the diversion of up to $74 million in Alabama Oil and Gas Capital Payments otherwise required to be deposited into the Alabama Trust Fund.  Although the proposed amendment authorizes the expenditure of such revenue for the payment of bonds for capital improvements to Alabama National Guard armories, the Association believes the further withdrawal of any principal or the diversion of any future income violates the intent of the trust and damages the financial stability of county governments that depend on the annual trust income.

The Future of the Alabama Trust Fund
Alabama counties and cities each utilize the distribution of 10 percent of the annual income of the Alabama Trust Fund for important capital improvement projects at the local level. The Association has consistently opposed legislative efforts to withdraw portions of the corpus of the Alabama Trust Fund as such withdrawals produce a permanent reduction of annual revenue to every county in the state.  In 2000 Alabama voters established the County and Municipal Government Trust Fund, which is used to provide counties and cities with interest income that would have otherwise been lost from the expenditure of the corpus of the Alabama Trust Fund.  The Association believes the distributions to counties and cities can, ultimately, only be protected from future expenditures by enacting a constitutional amendment which shifts 20 percent of the corpus of the fund and 20 percent of all future oil lease and royalty payments into the County and Municipal Government Trust Fund.  The separation of the existing and future revenue into two distinct trust funds would protect local revenues while enabling the State of Alabama to utilize the state-portion of the Alabama Trust Fund as allowed by other referendums.  The Association will actively oppose the passage of any proposed constitutional amendments allowing the expenditure of Alabama Trust Fund corpus unless such legislation also includes language ensuring that counties will no longer be impacted by such expenditures.

Legal Fees or Fines against Counties
The Association opposes any legislative or administrative effort to allow parties to collect attorneys’ fees or other legal expenses from county government and opposes legislation imposing fines against public officials, unless the fines are only against those officials who willfully and knowingly fail to carry out their duties.

Insurance Coverage
The Association opposes any legislation that would authorize any county public official to purchase liability or workers’ compensation insurance for themselves or employees working under their supervision.

Examiners of Public Accounts
The Association opposes any legislation that would remove the requirement that county financial records be audited by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts.  Additionally, the Association opposes any legislation that would alter the structure or management of the Department or remove Department employees from the state merit system.

Alabama’s Immigration Law
The Association recognizes the positive impact of the changes made to Act No. 2011-535 during the 2012 Legislative Session and supports the court settlement prohibiting enforcement of the requirement for state and local law enforcement personnel to investigate the lawful status of certain persons detained for traffic violations or other minor offenses or persons alleged to be assisting illegal immigrants in some manner. The Association opposes any legislation that would reinstate this provision.  However, the Association supports any changes to the current law that would ease the administrative burdens on all levels of government or address the cost of implementation and compliance which places significant financial burdens on counties, particularly in the area of law enforcement and maintenance of the county jail.

Mental Health Facilities
There has been a significant downsizing of state mental health programs in recent years, creating a dangerous situation for those in need of treatment, increasing the burden on local government to provide such services, and resulting in an increase of mentally ill persons housed in the county jail due to the lack of programs and facilities for proper placement.  The Association urges the State to properly fund state mental health programs, including providing adequate bed space and treatment for the acutely and chronically mentally ill.  Further, the Association opposes any efforts to require county government to assume responsibility for the care and treatment of mentally ill persons who by statute should be receiving adequate services in the custody or care of the state.

School Bus Camera Programs
The Association opposes any legislation promoted by private vendors to establish a process for civil enforcement of school bus violations administered by the county commission or sheriff’s office with the use of school bus cameras or other automated devices; provided, however, that the Association would be willing to work on such a proposal if initiated by state or local school officials and developed through negotiations between school officials and county government.

State Tax Refund Offset  
The Association supports legislation that would allow counties the authority to offset a person’s state income tax refund for payment of debts due to the local government such as delinquent solid waste fees or unpaid local taxes and fees.  


Constitutional Revision Policies

Local Constitutional Amendment Election
The Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission has proposed changes to the existing procedure for the holding of county-only referendums on proposed local constitutional amendments.  Currently, the constitution allows any one member of the Alabama Legislature to force a statewide vote on such local matters by casting a single “nay” vote on the proposal.  The commission has endorsed legislation to change the threshold to at least three (3) negative votes in the Senate or at least nine (9) negative votes in the House.  The Association urges the Alabama Legislature and voters statewide to approve this proposed change.

Changes in Local Law Process
The Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission has proposed changes to the current process for passing local legislation.  The commission’s proposal provides for a shorter advertising period and allows for local legislation to be amended during the legislative process, thus allowing counties and legislators a meaningful opportunity to debate and negotiate local bills during the legislative process.  The Association urges the Alabama Legislature and voters statewide to approve this proposed change.

County Administrative Powers
The Constitutional Revision Commission has proposed granting county government the authority to adopt certain administrative powers without requiring legislative approval.  These powers would not include the power to tax or regulate land use, but would allow the county commission to make administrative decisions regarding the management and operation of the county and to adopt certain programs beneficial to county citizens.  The Association urges the Alabama Legislature and voters statewide to approve this proposed change.


Unfunded Mandate Amendment
Currently, the constitutional provision protecting counties against unfunded mandates exempts from its application bills which are “defining a new crime or amending the definition of an existing crime.”  This language has been used to avoid the unfunded mandate protection by simply tacking on a crime at the end of a bill that is otherwise administrative in nature.  The Association supports legislation to amend this constitutional provision to correct this loophole by providing for the crime exemption to apply only to the provisions of a law that define or amend a crime rather than applying to the entire law.


Public Officials’ Salary and Benefits Policies

Compensation of Officials and Employees
The Association opposes any legislation authorizing or mandating increased compensation for county officials or employees.  Further, the Association opposes any amendments to the Omnibus Pay Act.

Salary Supplements
The Association opposes any general or local law mandating the county to provide a local salary supplement to any state official or state employee whose salary is paid by the State of Alabama.

The Association opposes the creation of new supernumerary programs or the amendment of existing supernumerary laws that would mandate an increase in county-paid benefits to former elected officials or otherwise cause the programs to be more of a financial burden on the counties.


Employee Programs and Benefits Policies

Retiree COLAs
The Association supports periodic increases for retired government employees provided language is included to ensure that the county commission has the discretion whether to grant an increase to its county retirees.  The Association also encourages the legislature to authorize counties to approve all or a portion of the increase granted to state retirees.

Civil Service or Collective Bargaining Programs
The Association supports legislation authorizing counties to establish and adopt civil service systems, but opposes legislation that would require the creation of such systems unless requested by resolution of the county commission.  In addition, the Association opposes legislation authorizing or requiring collective bargaining for county employees.

Changes in RSA Eligibility
Counties participating in the Retirement Systems of Alabama are responsible for all employer contributions and other costs required to participate as an employer.  This means the state does not contribute any of the cost of county participation.  Under these circumstances, the Association urges the Legislature and the Retirement Systems of Alabama to ensure that any statutory or regulatory retirement program changes in contribution, benefits, or eligibility shall not apply to local participants without approval of the county commission.

RSA Board of Control
The Association opposes any legislation that would eliminate elected positions on the Retirement Systems of Alabama Board of Control and/or that would eliminate local government representation on the Board.

Workers’ Compensation Reform
The Association supports reform of Alabama’s workers’ compensation law which has not been revised in over twenty years.  In particular, the Association supports changes which would (1) adjust provider fee schedules, (2) better address issues of medical causation and pre-existing conditions, (3) revise rules for physicians dispensing prescription drugs, (4) provide for an administrative dispute resolution process, and (5) make any other changes which would reduce employer costs while ensuring employees injured on the job receive proper benefits.  The Association opposes any legislation that would increase employer costs for medical care or employee benefits without addressing the needed programmatic changes in the current system.

Local Government Health Insurance Program
Most county commissions provide health insurance coverage to employees through the Alabama Local Government Health Insurance Program, which was established by statute more than 20 years ago.  The program is administered by the Alabama State Employees’ Insurance Board without local government representation.  In part as a result of the current uncertainty regarding compliance with the federal mandates for health insurance coverage, the Association urges the Alabama Legislature to establish a separate board to direct the operation of the local government program.


Election Issues Policies

Runoff Elections
The Association supports legislation to return to a three week runoff in all elections when and if an electronic overseas voting process is implemented which allows overseas voters to complete the absentee election process in a more timely manner.  However, the Association opposes legislation that would amend current law to eliminate or limit the circumstances in which a runoff election is required.

Election Expense Reform
The cost of elections in Alabama creates a significant drain on both the state and county general funds, due in large part to statutory provisions requiring additional compensation to election officials and procedures which could be streamlined utilizing available technology.  The Association supports a comprehensive reform of certain Alabama election laws aimed at eliminating waste and improving the election process in ways that will greatly decrease the expenses incurred by state and county government without negatively impacting the citizens’ ability to participate in the election process.

Publishing Election Notices
The Association supports legislation amending Alabama law to authorize counties to satisfy the legal requirements for the publication of election notices by posting information on a public web site and making copies available at the courthouse.

School Tax Elections
The Association supports legislation revising the ad valorem school tax election process to include deadlines for local school boards to request elections and to require school boards to pay for any special elections held for a vote on proposed school tax measures, or in the alternative, to eliminate the requirement that the county commission set and fund school tax elections for municipal school systems.

Help America Vote Act
The Association opposes any legislation to amend the federal or state Help America Vote Act, particularly if such amendments would require states to replace voting equipment purchased and alter state procedures implemented to come into compliance with the requirements of the original act.  However, the Association supports legislation prescribing appropriate expenditures for federal funds appropriated under the Help America Vote Act.

Campaign Finance Reform
With a statewide committee working to ensure compliance with the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act, including establishing a commission to review suspected violations of the Act, the Association is concerned that the conduct of candidates for local office is given appropriate consideration. The Association encourages the committee to consider the abundance of local races when establishing a reporting procedure for suspected violations; to ensure the investigation of such reports are completed before election day; and to provide for bipartisan and local representation on the commission.

Counting of Write-in Votes
Alabama law requires write-in votes to be counted on election night.  This hand-counting process is time-consuming and, in almost all cases, has no impact on the outcome of the elections.  The Association supports legislation to provide that write-in votes be counted at the same time as provisional ballots under one of two conditions: either the number of write-in votes for a specific office is greater than or equal to the difference in votes between the candidates receiving the most votes or, before the date provisional ballots are counted, a request to count the write-in votes has been received along with a bond to cover the cost of the count.

Altering Voter Registration Deadline
Alabama law currently provides that a person must register to vote at least 10 days prior to an election in order to cast a ballot in that election.  The Association opposes any legislation that would change the deadline for registering to more than 10 days vote prior to the date of an election.

Qualifying Dates for Independent Candidates
The Association supports legislation to require a person seeking public office as an “independent” candidate to file the required petition seeking ballot access no later than the last day of qualifying for those seeking the nomination of a political party for the same office.