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Senate puts more reporting requirements in 2023 budget

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

There is more money in the 2023 General Fund budget working its way through the Legislature. And more reporting requirements.

Senate budget drafters added some accounting stipulations in next year’s budget for several agencies, including the one in charge of the governor’s mansion. Lawmakers also want to know more about the Alabama Department of Corrections’ hiring efforts.

Senate budget chairman Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, said the requirements are an effort to keep track of public dollars.

The short-staffed ADOC already has to give lawmakers and the federal court regular updates on its employee roster. Next year’s budget says the agency in fiscal 2023 needs to report to lawmakers monthly “on the number of officers at the end of the month, the net increase from September 30, 2018, the monthly retention rate, and the amount and type of retention bonuses paid in accordance with a 2019 bonus structure.

Lawmakers also want information about recruitment and hiring efforts.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson late last year extended from 2022 to 2025 a deadline for the state to boost the number of correctional officers in its prisons.

Thompson said staffing has barely increased in three years, and the system has filled less than half of the positions necessary to meet the requirement of 3,826 full-time-equivalent officers, the Associated Press reported in December.

Lawmakers also want in 2023 quarterly reports from the Governor’s Mansion Authority regarding “amounts expended and the status of mansion repairs and improvements.”

The authority is responsible for maintaining the about 120-year-old mansion. It’s getting about $805,000 in next year’s budget.

Alabama’s district attorneys are getting $35.8 million in the 2023 budget. Meanwhile, lawmakers want a report on the “amount of funds collected and the expenditure of any funds received from pretrial diversion or other revenue-raising measures.”

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