Commission announces passing of Deputy Brad Johnson Act

Published 2:49 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Chilton County commissioners received a state legislative update at the April 11 meeting that Alabama Senate Bill 1 was passed in Montgomery earlier in the day. SB 1, also known as the Deputy Brad Johnson Act, is sponsored by Sen. April Weaver and passed legislation. The bill addresses the “good time” policy that prisoners can earn by following prison rules, which is normally earning 75 days for every 30 days well behaved. The bill passed significantly limits the amount of good time a prisoner can receive, and it makes inmates who commit violent crimes or try to escape during their sentences ineligible for good time.

Johnson was shot and killed by a prisoner in 2022 in a pursuit who had a previous prison sentence shortened due to earning good time. The bill passed the Alabama House of Representatives with a 79-24 vote.

Hardee also gave an update on the local bill regarding the trade school tax. The bill will continue the same 60-year old tax that goes towards LeCroy Career Technical Center and economic development. It will be looked at in the coming weeks and will be voted on by the Senate and the House, followed by the public voting on it in the primary elections in March 2024.

Hardee said Senate Bill 159 regarding limiting liability to construction companies who build roads in the county, and House Bill 41 that will raise the part-time wage limit for retirees to $52,000. The public can see all updates on all proposed bills on the Alabama House of Representatives website at

Commissioner Joseph Parnell gave an update during his commissioner report that great steps were taken on the maintenance of dirt roads in Chilton County. During the meeting, the commission approved two agreements that will benefit the dirt roads as well. The first was with Diversified Computer Services for software that will help the road department keep up with what work has been, or needs to be done on dirt roads. The second agreement was with TTL Inc. for soil testing and geotechnical services to find better dirt to use on some dirt roads that muddy up during rain.

Commissioner Matthew Mims read a proclamation at the meeting that proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month, and it was passed unanimously by the commission. April 11, 2023 was the 55th anniversary of the passing of The Fair Housing Act which offers a fair way for all United States citizens to get housing. The proclamation made April the Fair Housing Month to “establish Chilton County as an inclusive community committed to fair housing and promoted fair activities of private and public entities intended to provide or advocate for equal housing opportunities for all residents and prospective residents of Chilton County.”

The 30-day investigation into the debate if County Road 161 was a public road or not was discussed at the meeting, and multiple findings were presented from both sides. The commission approved a 30-day investigation period at the March 14 commission meeting.

Amanda Bittinger, Randy Goggins and Russell Warren’s attorneys were in attendance to share their findings. Bittinger’s attorney stated their findings suggest the road is a public road. Warren and Goggins’ attorneys said the road was a private road, and they have not found any documentation that CR 161 was, or is, a county-maintained road.

The Chilton County attorney shared his findings as well that included minutes from a commission meeting in April 2000 where residents of CR 161 and 163 were on the agenda to discuss land owners being denied access to their land. A resolution that the county engineer investigate both roads to see if they are public or private was passed unanimously.

In May 2000 at a meeting, the minutes stated the status of the findings.

“The status of findings on whether or not roads 161 and 163 were public or private,’” the attorney said. “In parentheses, it said ‘Engineer reported that in his opinion, they are private.’”

He added that the situation is best to be resolved between the private parties.

In his commissioner’s report, Allen Williams asked a resident who remembers the road being public in the 1950s to speak in front of the commission. The resident confirmed the road was a public road, and it goes out to the Shelby County line. Williams made a motion that the commission request the land owners along CR 161 and 163 to remove any barriers preventing the public access to those roads. There was no second, and the motion failed.

Williams also said residents on County Road 7 have come to him to express their desire to restrict trucks from using the road. Williams made a motion to restrict through trucks on the road, but there was no second and the motion failed.

The intersection at CR 7 and CR 422 recently had a wreck there, and Williams made a motion to have a four-way stop put at the intersection, as well as a dangerous intersection sign on CR7.

There was no second, and the motion failed.

However, a motion to put a flashing caution sign on CR 7 for a dangerous intersection, and flashing lights on the stop signs on CR 422 was approved unanimously.

Also, during the meeting the commission:

  • Approved Rodney Hurst as a part-time employee at the sheriff’s office.
  • Transferred Angela Mims from the Chilton County Jail to the assistant park ranger at Higgins Ferry.
  • Closed nominations and appointed Jason Calhoun to the Central Alabama Wellness Board.
  • Held the second meeting for nominations for the Chilton Water Authority. No new nominations were made, and the April 25 commission meeting will be the final for nominations and voting will be held.
  • Held the second meeting for nominations for the Airport Authority. No new nominations were made, and the April 25 commission meeting will be the final for nominations and voting will be held.