Legislative Wrap-Up, 0313 ALBJ, 74 The Alabama Lawyer 144 (2013)

AuthorOthni J. Lathram


Vol. 74 No. 2 Pg. 144

Alabama Bar Lawyer

March 2013


\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0 Othni J. Lathram

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0With the 2013 legislative session well underway as of the publication of this article, I thought it might be useful to provide a brief primer on how the legislature deals with local legislation-bills which usually constitute a majority of those passed each year.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0How local issues are dealt with in Alabama has been a topic of much discussion over the years. In fact, the Constitutional Revision Commission and the legislature are currently considering changes to the Alabama Constitution that, if ratified, could change some of the dynamics of how local governance is shaped, but for the time-being the local legislation process is alive and well.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Home Rule

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Local legislation is that which applies to a specific city, county or location as opposed to the state as a whole. The Alabama Constitution of 1901 greatly limits the powers of local government. The power of local government to take action is sometimes called “home rule.” Because of the general lack of power at the local government level, most local issues are dealt with by the legislature.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0In addition to restricting which bodies have the authority to legislate for local government, the Alabama Constitution of 1901 has some specific requirements related to local legislation. First and foremost, certain subjects are constitutionally banned from consideration in the form of local laws. Section 104 of the Alabama Constitution of 1901 has a list of 31 items prohibited from consideration as local laws. Second, Section 105 prohibits the passage of a local law on a subject already provided for by general law. Third, in order to pass a local law, notice must be provided pursuant to the terms of Section 106.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Notice and Proof

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0The notice requirement is the one that has created the most problems. Section 106 of the Alabama Constitution of 1901 provides that no local law may be passed unless notice of the legislation is provided in some newspaper published in the affected county or counties at least once a week for four consecutive weeks. Proof that the...

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