Police Jurisdiction Bill Could Lower Taxes

Legislation clarifying the police jurisdiction of municipalities passed the Alabama House of Representatives by a 77-9 vote in the final hours of the legislative session. 

SB 218, sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, establishes a three-mile police jurisdiction beyond corporate limits for municipalities with populations of 6,000 or more and one and one-half miles for towns with fewer residents. David Cole of the Alabama Farmers Federation said the bill builds on legislation passed last year which limits the ability of local governments to tax and regulate property far outside corporate limits.

“This legislation will provide clarity and consistency to the way police jurisdictions are established while giving local governments the ability to adjust those boundaries based on future needs,” said Cole, the Federation’s House Legislative Programs Director. “We appreciate the members of the House of Representatives working to ensure final passage of this bill in the closing minutes of the session.”

After the law is enacted, any extension of police jurisdiction as a result of annexation would require a vote of the municipal governing body. Cities with a three-mile jurisdiction, however, would be allowed to reduce their enforcement area to one and one-half miles.

The bill also states when any noncontiguous property is annexed, the municipality shall not exercise any jurisdiction or authority, including the assessment of any tax, outside the corporate limits.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill into law.

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