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Court officials and law enforcement discuss legislative needs - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Court officials and law enforcement discuss legislative needs

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Legislators listen while court officials and law enforcement talk about their needs in the coming year. (Source: WBRC video) Legislators listen while court officials and law enforcement talk about their needs in the coming year. (Source: WBRC video)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

On Friday in Hoover, state lawmakers heard from the state courts and law enforcement about their needs from the next legislative session. The House and Senate judiciary committees held a joint hearing to listen about the needs from various groups.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore told lawmakers the state courts need more money. The state judiciary got $87-million last year. Moore plans to request $114-million next year. Moore said the court system cannot get through the coming year without a special appropriation from Gov. Robert Bentley of $8.5-million.

"We've needed it very badly. We've lost 300 or more so people and we got 200 or more being paid by different areas. We are struggling very much," Moore said.

The Chief Justice said the clerks' offices are shut down one day a week now and drug courts could be in trouble if they don't get the $114-million for the coming year.

State Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas told lawmakers prison overcrowding remains their biggest problem, but the question is ‘who do you let out?' Thomas said 73% of the inmates are violent offenders. 17% are in prison on drug related charges.

Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams, the President of the State Sheriff's Association wants the legislature to take a second look at the state's gun rights laws. Williams said the open carry laws are causing problems for sheriffs. Alabama Lawmakers are sympathetic to the needs of the courts and law enforcement but as one lawmaker phrases it "as long as it doesn't involve the t-word, taxes."

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