PERSPECTIVE: Top 10 Issues Facing Alabama Legislature In 2018Rickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Dec 29 2017 8:53 AM
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The 2018 Alabama regular legislative session begins in just 11 days on Jan. 9, 2018, and this is an election year so formal major party qualifying begins on the same day. The elections mean that the session begins earlier than normal and will likely end even sooner so that incumbents can get back to their districts to campaign. There are a lot of issues facing the legislature, however.
The biggest concern is the overcrowded corrections system. Alabama has a lot of prisoners and an aging, poorly maintained a collection of prisons that were not designed to accommodate the numbers of prisoners we have locked up…..most of them violent. The state under siege by liberal groups that are demanding reforms. A federal judge has already ruled that the mental health care that we are providing our captive criminal population is woefully inadequate. It is likely that the court will find similar failings with Alabama’s prisoner health care and with prison staffing. Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn and then Governor Robert Bentley have carried a controversial plan to borrow a $billion to build four new super prisons to replace 17 of the state’s old smaller prisons. That would have dropped the prisons to just 138 percent of capacity which would have satisfied the Justice Department, but that costly plan died in the legislature. It is believed that new Governor Kay Ivey (R) will propose building new prisons but likely without requiring the legislature to pass a bond issue. Finding more money for prisons is clearly the biggest need that the state faces.