Rep(s). By Representative Allen


HB146

Enrolled, An Act, Under existing law, any vacancies in the office of judge of the circuit court and judge of the district court are filled by the Governor.This bill would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to establish the Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission and provide for the filling of vacancies in the office of judge of the circuit court and judge of the district court in Tuscaloosa County.

Relating to Tuscaloosa County; proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901; to establish the Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission and provide for the filling of vacancies in the office of judge of the circuit court and judge of the district court.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. The following amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, is proposed and shall become valid as a part of the Constitution when all requirements of this act are fulfilled:

PROPOSED AMENDMENT

(a) In Tuscaloosa County, all vacancies in the offices of judge of the circuit court and judge of the district court shall be filled in the manner and for the time as provided in this amendment. The Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission is created for the purpose of nominating to the Governor persons for appointment to any vacancy in the office of judge of the circuit court and judge of the district court. The nine members of the commission shall consist of the following: One attorney primarily or substantially engaged in a plaintiff civil practice; one attorney primarily or substantially engaged in a defense civil practice; one attorney primarily or substantially engaged in a domestic relations practice; one attorney primarily or substantially engaged in a criminal defense practice; the District Attorney for Tuscaloosa County; the Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County; and three people who are not members of the Alabama State Bar. Each member shall reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County.

(b) Members of the commission shall be elected in the following manner:

(1) At least 30 days prior to the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association meeting at which any Alabama State Bar member of the Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission shall be elected, the Executive Committee of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association shall provide notice of such election and a list of at least two nominees for each vacancy on the Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission, except for the positions held by the District Attorney for Tuscaloosa County and the Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County, to all members of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association. Any member may submit additional nominations in writing to the President or Secretary of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association no later than 14 days after the date upon which the list of nominees was provided, specifying the position on the commission for which the nomination is made. All nominees shall be members in good standing of the Alabama and Tuscaloosa County Bar Associations and shall have been engaged in the active practice of law for at least five years.

(2) After the 14-day period for nominations has passed, the Tuscaloosa County Bar Executive Committee shall certify each nominee who meets the criteria for election to the commission.

(3) The names of all nominees certified by the executive committee for each vacant position shall be provided to all members of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association at least seven days prior to the announced date of the election. The standing rules and regulations of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association shall govern the election process during the bar association meeting.

(4) The members of the commission who are not members of the state bar shall be selected by a majority of the Tuscaloosa County Legislative Delegation. At least 14 days prior to any meeting for the selection of the members to the commission who are not members of the state bar, the Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County shall notify the Chair of the Tuscaloosa County Legislative Delegation and all members of the Tuscaloosa Legislative Delegation of the need for a meeting to select candidates for the commission. The Chair of the Tuscaloosa County Legislative Delegation shall also notify the members of the legislative delegation and the presiding circuit court judge of the circuit of the time and location of the meeting. At the meeting, the senators and representatives shall select the members to be appointed to the commission. The Chair of the Tuscaloosa Legislative Delegation shall certify in writing to the Secretary of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association the name of the individuals selected.

(c) The Secretary of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association shall certify in writing to the Tuscaloosa County Judge of Probate the names of the members of the commission. The judge of probate shall record all certificates of election and shall safely and permanently keep the original certificates. Upon receipt of the certificate of election, the judge of probate shall send a certified copy to the Governor.

(d) The terms of office of the appointed members of the commission shall be six years. The length of each term shall be designated by the Executive Committee of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association. Any vacancy on the Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the member was originally chosen.

(e) No member shall receive any salary or other compensation for services. No member of the commission, other than the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney and the Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County shall hold any elected office nor shall any member hold any official position in any political party.

(f) If, after the ratification of this amendment, a vacancy occurs in Tuscaloosa County in the office of judge of the circuit court or judge of the district court, the commission shall submit to the Governor within 45 days after the vacancy occurs a slate of three persons who are qualified for the office. The nominations shall be made only by the concurrence of a majority of the members of the commission. The presiding judge of the circuit court shall certify the three nominees to the Governor, who shall appoint one to the office in which the vacancy exists. If the Governor fails to make an appointment from the submitted list within 60 days from the date of submission, the commission shall submit a new list as provided in this section to the Governor.

Section 2. An election upon the proposed amendment shall be held in accordance with Amendment 555 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, and the election laws of this state.

Section 3. The appropriate election official shall assign a ballot number for the proposed constitutional amendment on the election ballot and shall set forth the following description of the substance or subject matter of the proposed constitutional amendment:

"Relating to Tuscaloosa County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to establish the Tuscaloosa County Judicial Commission and provide for the filling of vacancies in the office of judge of the circuit court and judge of the district court.

Proposed by Act _________"

This description shall be followed by the following language:

"Yes ( ) No ( )."


Tuscaloosa County
Constitutional Amendments
Counties
Judge, Circuit
Judge, District
Elections
Court, Circuit
Court, District