Home Rule

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Gov. Bob Riley Friday signed into law a bill that could give county governments authority to deal with problems like overgrown weeds or dangerous dogs.

The bill passed May 16, the final day of the Legislature's regular session. The new law gives counties authority to control nuisances such as noise, unsanitary sewage, litter, overgrown weeds, junkyards and animals.

A county commission cannot use the new powers unless voters in unincorporated areas of the county approve in a referendum.

The new law does not give county commissions authority to levy taxes or make zoning decisions.

The executive director of the Association of County Commissions, Buddy Sharpless, said the limited home rule law will help residents of rural Alabama.