MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The cost of going to court in Alabama is going up if Gov. Robert Bentley signs a bill approved by the Legislature shortly before the final gavel of the 2012 session.
The Alabama House voted 61-37 moments before the session's end at midnight Wednesday to approve a bill raising the court fees for a traffic ticket by $26. The cost of going to civil court would go up $40 and the cost of going to civil court $45.
If the offender went to municipal traffic court, $10 of the $26 fee increase will go to the municipal court.
Lawmakers said $2 of the increase for a traffic ticket will go to the police officers annuity fund.
In a compromise with legislators who felt the court fees hike would place a burden on low-income Alabama residents, lawmakers agreed to reverse the court cost increases in three years.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Mike Hill of Columbiana said it was urgent that the court costs bill pass. The House gallery was full with court officials from across the state who had been in and out of Montgomery for more than a week saying the bill was needed to keep courtrooms open.
Hill said the bill was urgent to the viability of the state's General Fund budget, which funds most non-education state agencies.
"Without this we can't fund the budget," Hill said.