In a significant gathering at the ACCA Legislative Conference in Auburn, all 67 Alabama counties united to outline their policy goals for the 2024 State Legislature session. This annual event, highlighted by ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield, is pivotal for shaping a unified stance on key issues affecting county operations.
The 2024 agenda is ambitious, focusing on improving mental health services at the local level. This includes bolstering inpatient care and securing funding for the 988 suicide and crisis call lifeline. The counties also seek to give probate courts greater jurisdiction over mental health commitments.
Another major area of concern is the financial burden counties bear for juvenile delinquent care. In response, the counties aim to address these escalating costs effectively.
Significant reforms are also proposed for the Board of Registrars system. The goal is to ensure appointments reflect the state’s racial demographics accurately while enhancing accountability and communication between state and local levels.
Emergency communication districts may see empowerment to better coordinate public safety answering points, enhancing 911 service efficiency.
Technical legislative amendments are also on the agenda. These include clarifying the Legislature’s authority over local officials’ compensation, absolving county commissions from liabilities due to misappropriation of funds by elected officials, and revising tax sale and lien auction processes following Supreme Court rulings.
Furthermore, the state’s authority over the decertification of poll books could be removed, and expenditures for electronic poll books and absentee election manager training could become eligible for state reimbursement.
The conference also saw the unanimous approval of the Alabama County Platform, a comprehensive document detailing the collective stance of all 67 counties on various policy issues.
In a move to engage the public directly, ACCA encourages support for Amendment 1 in the upcoming March 5 primary election, as outlined in a resolution adopted by the counties.
The ACCA continues to be a vital voice for Alabama’s counties, advocating for enhanced services, providing educational resources, administering insurance programs, offering legal counsel, and representing county interests at various levels.