County Commission | The Magazine August 2018 - Page 23

FROM THE COVER q PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE: LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY r Goat Hill hears unified county voice In 1999, county leaders from around the state turned out strong for a meeting with Gov. Don Siegelman about unfunded mandate legislation. I nfluencing the Alabama Legislature was the driving issue in 1929, and that is no less true for county government today. But there have certainly been changes in the intervening years as counties have continually adapted to maximize their impact in an ever- changing environment. Counties have an extensive track record of successfully advocating for game-changing legislation. One such standout from recent decades was the limitation on unfunded mandates for local government, now enshrined in the state constitution. Working together through the Association, counties have driven down prices on heavy equipment and other items through a legislatively-authorized joint bidding program. Back in 1999, the Omnibus Pay Act linked the compensation of local elected officials to the salaries staking out positions on core issues, and under each principle, there are Strategic Goals and Policy Statements that go into greater detail. Find it at www.alabamacounties.org/legislation/ county-platform. Looking at the Association’s Goat Hill Report Card for the 2015- 2018 quadrennium, legislation was recently passed to address 27 strategic priorities in the Alabama County Platform. Among the most significant successes were: • Simplified Sellers Use Tax Remittance Program, which has brought in previously uncollected revenue from transactions with out-of-state retailers; • County Modernization Act of 2015, which revised several outdated sections of state law to improve administration of county government; • Local Legislation Reforms, which reduced the need for local of county employees, a move that dramatically reduced friction between county governing bodies and other county-level elected officials. More recently, a new mechanism for 9-1-1 funding was created to sustain this vital Our Association is a lot more respected. I public service praise our staff and our leadership in Montgomery despite dwindling that have directed us, landline phones. but we don’t need to get At the heart complacent. We need to of ACCA’s stay on our toes. You can legislative tear up more in a year advocacy is than you can fix in 15; the Alabama my old coach taught County Platform, me that. adopted each year by vote of the Hon. Roger Hayes membership. It 1999-2000 is organized into ACCA President 11 Foundation Winston County Principles Keep an eye on the future COUNTY COMMISSION | 23