Legislature passes bill that could reassign judgeshipsRICKEY STOKES
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Feb 28 2017 8:14 PM
MONTGOMERY - ALABAMA LEGISLATURE:
A bill that could shift state judicial seats based on caseload, population, and other factors awaits the governor's passage after the House approved the legislation Tuesday.
The House passed the bill, SB90, by a vote of 77-15 with four abstentions. The Senate approved it earlier this month. Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody, a former circuit judge, sponsored the House version. Hill and the legislation's Senate sponsor, Republican Arthur Orr of Decatur, argued that the bill would save the state between $6 million and $8 million by reassigning judgeships to circuits or districts with higher caseloads.
The bill creates a body called the Judicial Reallocation Commission - composed of the state Supreme Court's chief justice, the legal adviser to the governor, the Alabama attorney general, three circuit judges, three district judges, and three licensed attorneys - who would have the power to shift judges from one circuit or district to another if two-thirds of the commission agrees. The seats could only be reassigned after a judge retires, resigns or is removed from office.