MONTGOMERY, Ala. – State Troopers raised concerns Wednesday that the passage of SB44 would require cuts to their program, resulting in fewer troopers on Alabama’s roads.
SB44 would reverse the Feb. decision by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to raise the rate on the renewal of driver’s licenses by 54 percent.
In a news release issued Wednesday, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Sergeant Steve Jarrett said SB44 would cut the State Troopers’ budget, resulting in more alcohol-related crashes, which account for approximately 40 percent of all Alabama State Trooper-investigated fatalities.
“With current staffing levels, many State Troopers spend most of their shifts responding to crashes and assisting motorists leaving little or no time to proactively enforce Alabama’s traffic laws. In 2014, State Troopers made 2,831 DUI arrests,” Jarret said.
Hotzclaw responded Wednesday evening in a blog post, saying that SB44 wouldn’t affect current budgets and that government oversight is needed when it comes to fee increases.
“My question is – how can a fee increase implemented by ALEA in February affect current your budgets? The state operates off a Fiscal Year (FY) budget calendar. EVERY state agency is currently working from the FY15 (2014 – 2015) budget passed during the 2014 session. We are working on the FY16 budget year now and as we’ve just completed the sixth month of the FY15 budget I don’t see how a two month old fee increase is suddenly taking troopers off the road. I’m pretty certain EVERY agency in State Government would love to have the ability to raise fees to cover current year operating expenses but that’s simply not how government is suppose to work. Of note, rumor is that other agencies with similar revenue raising abilities as ALEA are considering the same. We will see. A copy of SB44 is located here.
“As I’ve stated before – a fee increase of some magnitude may be warranted however, an agency should not be able to increase fees on something required – a Driver’s License – by 54% without oversight from the representatives of the people – the Legislature. The end result of this fee increase is a $12.7M to ALEA’s budget.”