Hanging in limbo as Alabama legislators head into the last day of the 2012 session Wednesday is a bill aimed at keeping Alabama courts running in the midst of a brutal financial crisis.
Court clerks from all over the state have been frequent visitors to the Statehouse in recent weeks to urge lawmakers to pass a bill that would raise court costs and a fee paid by bail bondsmen.
The House sponsor, Republican Rep. Mike Hill of Columbiana, said
the bill would raise about $40 million for courts, which have been hurt by several years of budget cuts.
The bill passed the Alabama House after lawmakers engaged in bitter debate for much of a day, with opponents saying the fee hike unfairly targets low income residents.
The bill is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate on Wednesday, the last day of the 2012 regular session. The court costs bill was expected to come up for debate in the Senate last week. But senators carried it over several times.