Support local amendment

In addition to other important matters, Shelby County voters will have an opportunity to vote on Local Amendment No. 1 in the November 4 General Election. This is an important amendment for the future of Shelby County and I encourage you to vote YES.
If passed by the voters, this constitutional amendment, passed by the legislature in 2013, will require all future Shelby County Probate Judges to be licensed attorneys. The central question is, do you want a person trained in the law making the decisions in adoptions, estates, guardianships and the other important cases that are in probate court?
In addition to the probate cases, having an attorney as Probate Judge allows him or her to serve as a volunteer Circuit Judge to assist with the circuit court caseload as needed. This is at no additional cost to the taxpayer and for no additional compensation to the Probate Judge. Also, by requiring the Probate Judge to be a licensed attorney, certain cases can be transferred from circuit court to probate court for administration and disposition. This helps everyone, the litigants and their families and the other case litigants in circuit court that need the judges’ time and attention. If the Probate Judge is not trained in the law, many cases that we now hear in probate court will be transferred to circuit court which will cause delay and increase expenses to the litigants and their families.
Three of the last four Shelby County Probate Judges have been attorneys. This is your opportunity to guarantee to future generations that the person hearing their probate case will have the legal training and experience necessary to make a good, sound decision. I hope you will join me in voting YES on Local Amendment No. 1 on November 4.

Jim Fuhrmeister
Shelby County Probate Judge
Columbiana