Judge working on legislative matters

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, March 6, 2013

By JIM FUHRMEISTER / Guest Columnist

The 2013 Session of the Alabama Legislature has started and legislators are busy. This year I have been asked to work with the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Alabama Probate Judges’ Association to help keep legislators informed of the impact on the probate courts and our citizens of many of the bills that are under consideration.

I join our committee chairman, Judge Jim Perdue of Crenshaw County, and other judges in this important work.

It is too much to expect our legislators to be familiar with every detail of the services probate judges provide our citizens, and I think it shows their wisdom when they seek more information from those who work in this area every day.

After all, the work of the probate court affects people in many different ways, from cases such as adoptions, involuntary commitments and guardianships to overseeing elections to recording important legal documents.

As I have worked with Judge Perdue and the other judges, I have become increasingly impressed with the good work of the Shelby County legislative delegation.

Legislators take a lot of criticism but their work is difficult. More than 400 bills were introduced in the opening days of this session on subjects dealing with all aspects of life and government in Alabama.

It is a monumental task for our legislators to make informed decisions on each one of the bills that come up for a vote. More than ever, I now realize how important it is for our legislators to be good people with the public’s interest in mind. Shelby County is fortunate to have such a good, well-respected delegation.

Judge Perdue and I have worked together on several issues already, including bills dealing with the mentally ill, elections and more. This session will last well into May and I will be busy working on legislative matters in addition to my regular duties as probate judge. I believe this is important work for the people of Shelby County.

Jim Fuhrmeister is the Shelby County probate judge.