Necessity is the mother of invention

By CAM WARD / Guest Columnist

Alabamians are understandably anxious about how lawmakers can close a $500 million budget shortfall and still maintain basic services and properly fund schools.

The Republican majority is determined to be creative and close that gap. We will not be raising taxes, which means in order to balance the books and fund education, we must live within our budget. So by focusing on economic growth and jobs, we can improve revenues and limit the cuts.

Making government more efficient is the second way to limit cuts. The best solutions reduce cost, improve efficiency and make Alabama even more business friendly. We are actively searching for those and have found a great one.

Court dockets are getting so crowded that opposing parties often are expected to suffer delayed justice. We’ve grown to accept long lines at the courthouse as the norm, but why? Why can’t we find a solution that clears up the docket, gets cases heard quicker, and doesn’t require more judges?

We have that solution, Alabama.

My new proposed legislation would allow people who have filed a lawsuit to hire a private judge to handle the case. If the two parties involved in the suit agree, they can have their case heard in days not months. The cost to people who want to use this service is going to be minimal as well, likely just $1,000-$1,500 on a $100,000 case. This not only speeds up the process for the parties involved in the lawsuit, but clears up the court docket so other cases can be heard quicker. Everybody wins!

Similar legislation has been passed in other states and has been very effective. We’ve seen this work and I think it’s going to be a great fit for Alabama. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and during this recession, creative legislation that increases efficiency and doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything is critical. The legislators are committed to running government on a lean budget and as efficiently as possible. Common sense legislation like this is a crucial part of that.

Cam Ward is a Republican state senator from Alabaster.