MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Senate today passed legislation by Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) requiring a public review process before any state park, office, or facility can be closed. Holtzclaw’s bill states that any state agency looking to shutter a facility, office, or park, must have the proposed closure reviewed by the Legislative Council, an existing committee that provides advice to executive agencies.
“Taxpayers expect us to protect our state parks, or any other state facility and office, from being shut down overnight, without any warning or out of spite,” Holtzclaw said. “The head of a state agency shouldn’t be able to unilaterally close a state park or facility without an appropriate public review process.”
Under the legislation, any state agency considering closure of a facility would have to give notice of its intended action at least 45 days prior to such a closing to the Legislative Council. The Council would then hold a public hearing on the proposal, to determine whether closure is in the best interest of the people of Alabama.
“Fear-mongering and threatening a shutdown of dozens of state driver’s license offices and parks if the Legislature won’t immediately raise over $300 million in taxes is irresponsible,” Holtzclaw remarked. “State parks and agencies should never be used as a political bargaining chip. A responsible budget will be in place by October 1. With proper oversight, I firmly believe state agencies can manage their resources to keep parks and offices open to the public.”
Senator Bill Holtzclaw represents Madison and Limestone counties in the Alabama State Senate. Follow him on Twitter for the latest legislative updates: @billholtzclaw