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Updated: March 18, 2015


Since the legislators haven't allowed the people to write a new state constitution, we are going to ask them to write a new one!

In 1983, the legislators DID write a new constitution and it was a good one. But because our Constitution allows only the people to write a new constitution, it was declared unconstitutional and never became the state's governing document.

ACCR proposes a constitutional amendment to allow the legislators to do what they tried to do in 1983.We aim for the legislators who will be elected in 2018 to write the new constitution, so it will be an incentive for people to run for the legislature in 2018.

Find the proposed 1983 Constitution HERE  

Legislative Update

Although we are supporting a new constitutional amendment to allow the legislators to write a new constitution, we want amendments arising from the Constitutional Revision Commission to pass during the 2015 Regular Session of the Alabama State Legislature.

Here are constitutional revision amendments to watch:

SB16 sponsored by Senator Del Marsh (and companion HB193 sponsored by Rep. Randy Davis) would give county commissions the authority to establish, certain programs relating to the administration of the affairs of the county, including establishing personnel policies and procedures for county employees, community programs, transportation programs, programs providing for the operation of county offices, elections and polling places and emergency assistance programs. It will not authorize tax increases or zoning control.

SB26 sponsored by Senator Greg Albritton would change Article VII on Impeachment concerning State officers who are elected. It would remove the Superintendent of Education from being impeached since that job is appointed by the State Board of Education. It would include the State Board of Education since they are elected.

SB30 sponsored by Senator Linda Coleman would revise the way local constitutional amendments are sent to statewide vote. It will change it so that if one legislator wanted a local constitutional amendment to receive a statewide vote, the full House and Senate must vote on sending the constitutional amendment to a statewide vote. Currently, one legislator from either the House or the Senate, can send a local constitutional amendment to a statewide vote by simply protesting it.


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Home rule for Alabama counties is more complicated than it sounds

By Tim Lockette
Anniston Star
Saturday, December 29, 2012

MONTGOMERY — Ken Joiner has never been the butt of the jokes about Alabama's micro-managing state Constitution.

In all his years as Calhoun County's administrator, Joiner has never had to ask the entire state for permission to bury dead horses or spray for bugs.

But there have been plenty of less embarrassing things.

When Calhoun County wanted to create an Economic Development Council to attract businesses, Alabama's Constitution had to be changed to make it happen. When the county wanted to charge a tax to pay for rural fire departments, that took an amendment, too."It's absurd," Joiner said. "It's an archaic system."

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Education article rewrite could prove contentious

By Dana Beyerle
Times Montgomery Bureau
Saturday, November 17, 2012

MONTGOMERY — The Legislature will begin working next year on a rewrite of the constitution's education article in a process that almost certainly will involve all three branches of government and powerful lobbying organizations.

Republicans who govern the Legislature are embarked on an article-by-article rewrite of the 1901 Constitution that has been amended more than 800 times.

The latest attempt to rewrite a small part ended in failure Nov. 6 when voters refused to remove inoperative poll tax language inserted in the constitution during Jim Crow days.

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Constitution revision going to Alabama voters

By Phillip Rawls
The Associated Press
May 4, 2012

MONTGOMERY | After years of talking about modernizing Alabama's 111-year-old Constitution, the Legislature is going to let voters decide in the November election if they want to revise the portions regulating corporations and banks.

Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood worked for six years to get the two articles approved by the entire Legislature. He got the House to approve them in 2007, 2008 and 2011, only to see them die in the Senate. He finally succeeded in winning Senate approval Tuesday. The next step is a statewide referendum.

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Bob Davis: Alabama’s failing experiment

Anniston Star
March 11, 2012

Michigan’s trees are “the right height,” Mitt Romney proudly boasted last month ahead of the primary in the state where he grew up. Alabama’s Constitution is just the opposite. The state’s unwieldy governing document and its more than 800 amendments are the wrong height for Alabama, where, by the way, Romney and his fellow Republican presidential candidates are campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

A central theme of the 2012 Republican presidential primary has been decreasing the power of the federal government. The hopefuls promise to shrink the federal government’s role in education, health care, worker safety, environmental regulation and so on. GOP candidates support letting state governments fill that void, or not fill it at all if that is preferred.

State governments are the laboratories of democracy, the saying goes.

Unfortunately for Alabama, it appears our laboratory is staffed with mad scientists mixing volatile chemicals to see how loud the explosion will be. It’s almost as if the Statehouse is ruled by crazy-eyed men in lab coats laughing manically at their mischief.

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Quarry verdict rocks Gurley

The Huntsville Times
October 12, 2011

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama _ Gurley's legal problems over its attempts to block a rock quarry may never have happened if Madison County had "home rule" powers that included planning and zoning authority.

The small east Madison County town is facing bankruptcy for attempting to do what the county could have done with regulatory authority to control land use.

Alabama historical marker on Railroad Street tells the history of Gurley. The east Madison County town faces bankruptcy if a $4.9 million legal judgement over Gurley's attempt to block a rock quarry stands.

In February, a Madison County jury found that Gurley's efforts to block M&N Materials' proposed limestone quarry by an after-the-fact annexation and zoning action effectively condemned the 269-acre site.

The jury awarded M&N nearly $5 million in damages, interest and attorney fees.

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BOB BLALOCK: 1901 Constitution fraudulent, 'criminal,' and ours

The Birmingham News
October 30, 2011

Lynwood Smith, it is safe to say, is no fan of the 1901 Constitution of Alabama. The federal judge's disgust for that document drips throughout his 854-page, Oct. 21 ruling that Alabama's property tax system does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

Smith practically begs for a federal lawsuit that challenges the validity of the Alabama Constitution because, as has been well-documented, supporters stole the referendum that approved it. The 1901 Constitution is the state's fundamental charter "only through fraud, ballot theft, economic and physical intimidation and unmitigated corruption," Smith wrote.

Federal Judge Lynwood Smith really doesn't like the 1901 Constitution of Alabama. (Huntsville Times file)

White supremacist delegates drafted a constitution that would take away blacks' right to vote. Then, supporters campaigned for voter approval on "White supremacy, honest elections, a new constitution, one and inseparable."

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Constitution commission agrees on article changes

By: Brian Lyman
The Montgomery Advertiser
October 27, 2011

The Constitution Revision Commission on Wednesday approved changes to banking and corporation articles in the state's governing document that would remove antiquated and unnecessary language.

The changes were considered noncontroversial, but approval took several weeks as commission members argued how specific the new language should be, particularly in the banking article's section on interest payments.

Some commissioners pushed to have a set limit in the document to discourage payday lenders in the state.

"We have folks charging 300 percent interest, which is outrageous," said Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, one of the members of the commission. "If we have an opportunity to put something in, ... we should take the opportunity to do so."

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BOB BLALOCK: Jefferson County's shadow threatens home rule

The Birmingham News
October 9, 2011

Jefferson County's money mess casts a shadow larger than Crimson Tide man-mountain D.J. Fluker, and not just because of the damage a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing would trigger. The county's $3.2 billion sewer debt it can't pay, plus a general fund slashed by one-fourth when the county lost its occupational tax, may well darken efforts to give local governments more power to run their own affairs.

Wednesday, at a meeting of the Constitution Revision Commission in Montgomery to discuss what is known as home rule, Jefferson County took center stage. The Legislature created the commission to rewrite most of the articles in the grievously flawed state constitution.

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On the path to reform: Effort to rewrite 1901 Constitution a practical response to problem

The Anniston Star Editorial Board
September 26, 2011

For some time, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform has lobbied for some action, any action, to bring the state’s complex, cumbersome Constitution under control. The debate over how to accomplish this tells us much about the divisions and dynamics of Alabama politics.

On one hand are those who wanted a popularly elected constitutional convention to do the job. This was how the 1901 Constitution was created in the first place.

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Tackling constitutional reform, one step at a time

The Anniston Star Editorial Board
September 25, 2011

John B. Knox never stood a chance.

The late Anniston attorney and president of the Alabama constitutional convention in 1901 was put on trial Friday at the Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon at Samford University, an annual event sponsored by Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform.

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Home Rule may be part of Commission's Revisions

The Montgomery Advertiser
September 1, 2011

Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brian Lyman says that the new Constitutional Revision Commission may discuss Home Rule in their deliberations over revisions to the Alabama Constitution

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Constitutional reform at last? It’s a step in right direction, but tax matters will remain

The The Anniston Star Editorial Board
July 25, 2011

When the history of constitutional reform in Alabama is studied, there is a good chance people may overlook the fact that it took a Republican Legislature to start the ball rolling.

What they must not overlook is what moved the new majority to action: the recognition that the state’s antiquated and inefficient constitution is — to put it simply — a job killer.

While there is general agreement that the original document was written by the rich to keep the poor — black and white — at the bottom of the social, economic and political ladders, what now is acknowledged is that the Constitution hurts the affluent as well.

By concentrating power in Montgomery, the Constitution made it difficult for county and city governments to address their problems, which in turn made it difficult for the state to prosper as other states do.

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The New Constitutional Revision Commission will include: Former Governor Albert Brewer, Carolyn McKinstry, survivor of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing and a co-chair of the ACCR Mock Convention, State Representative Patricia Todd, who has supported constitutional reform for many years.

The Montgomery Advertiser
By: Brian Lyman
July 20, 2011

Gov. Robert Bentley's choices for the state's Constitutional Reform Commission include a predecessor who tried to overhaul the state's governing document 40 years ago and the head of a local Tea Party affiliate.

Bentley appointed former Gov. Albert Brewer; Wetumpka Tea Party president Becky Gerritson and Vicki Drummond, a supporter of the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Birmingham.

“Governor Brewer is a respected statesman and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this commission," Bentley said in a statement. "Vicki Drummond and Becky Gerritson have a dedicated passion and vision for exploring the need to reform the Alabama constitution."

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BOB BLALOCK: Scoring on constitution reform after goose eggs all these years

The Birmingham News
By: Bob Blalock
June 26, 2011

For a decade, constitution reformers have watched Alabama lawmakers lay a goose egg on them every legislative session. Goose egg, as in zip. Zero. Zilch.

The bill (and later, a resolution) that reformers pushed year in and year out -- a proposed amendment to let state voters decide whether a convention of citizens should draft a new Alabama constitution -- died every session.

It died in the session that ended earlier this month, too. Yet, lawmakers actually passed meaningful legislation that will goose the grievously flawed 1901 document.

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A possibility for real reform: Seeking upgrade for Constitution

The Anniston Star
By: Editorial Board
June 23, 2011

In 1995, Bailey Thomson wrote the award-winning series of editorials for the Mobile Press-Register that linked so many of Alabama’s current problems to its antiquated state Constitution. Since then, a growing number of people have called for the state Legislature to set up machinery for reform and revision of that ancient and regressive document.

And there have been those who haven’t.

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Vanzetta McPherson: Fix state's constitution

The Montgomery Advertiser
June 23, 2011

In spite of the vociferous partisanship on display during the 2011 session of the Alabama Legislature, there is one issue on which Democrats and Republicans universally and timelessly agree. Both parties -- and apparently most of their members in the House and Senate -- refuse to accord constitutional reform the priority that it deserves.

For the past several weeks, Republican legislators have anointed themselves as "promise keepers" of the decade, but they, like the Democrats who preceded them for a century, failed -- or refused -- to pass the most consequential legislation on Alabama's agenda. After another session in the capital city, albeit replete with new laws, our state still holds the shockingly embarrassing record for the longest, most cumbersome constitution in the world, and arguably the most anti-democratic constitution in the nation.

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Piece-by-piece start toward constitutional reform (editorial)

The Press Register
By: Editorial Board
May 1, 2011

ALABAMA’S 1901 constitution is an outdated clunker that needs a complete overhaul.

But we’d settle for replacing one part here and one part there as long as progress is being made.

Piecemeal constitutional reform is the plan being put forth in a resolution approved by the Legislature and expected to be signed soon by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Proposed by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, the resolution would create a commission of 16 people to suggest changes to the bloated document that now has more than 800 amendments to its name.

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OUR VIEW: A constitutional revision commission could solve many problems with the state constitution

The Birmingham News
By: Editorial Board
April 27, 2011

There's more than one way to skin a constitution. But will the latest proposal -- a constitutional revision commission -- be enough to put the 1901 Constitution of Alabama out of our misery?

Not completely (more on that later), but the idea is a good start toward cleaning up the mess the constitution's drafters created more than a century ago.

It is a big job.

Read more

Constitutional revision effort set to begin; taxes aren't in mix

The Gadsden Times
By: Dana Beyerle
April 18, 2011

MONTGOMERY — The Legislature on Tuesday could begin a three-year project to rewrite select portions of the lengthy and often-amended 1901 state constitution. Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, is sponsoring two proposed constitutional amendments that top the special order calendar the House Rules Committee will consider prior to the House convening on Tuesday.

“I've worked on this the last four years and hopefully this will be the year it gets to the public,” DeMarco said Monday.

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Marsh plan would reform Alabama Constitution by 2014

The Anniston Star
By: Patrick McCreless
April 19, 2011

Anniston Sen. Del Marsh wants Alabama’s constitution reformed, and he has a plan to achieve that goal.

Marsh, who is president pro tem, the top spot in the state Senate, proposed a resolution last week to establish a 16-member commission to suggest changes to Alabama’s constitution.

Many efforts have been made in the last few decades to reform the lengthy constitution, which took effect in 1901, but with little success.

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Alabama constitution rewrite commission proposed by lawmaker

The Birmingham News
By: David White
April 18, 2011

MONTGOMERY -- A top lawmaker is pushing a plan to set up a commission of 16 people that could suggest changes to Alabama's constitution.

Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, the Senate president pro-tem and sponsor of the plan, said he's heard from many people over the years who said the constitution, which took effect in 1901, is too long, too cumbersome and needs to be updated.

"Let's just get it done," Marsh said. "Let's go ahead and accomplish this."

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Alabama constitution rewrite up to voters if representative's plan passes

The Birmingham News
By: David White
March 4, 2011

MONTGOMERY -- State voters would decide whether to call a convention of delegates that could propose a new state constitution, under a resolution filed Thursday by state Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham.

Under Newton's plan, Alabama voters would decide during the June 2012 primary election whether to hold a convention. If they voted for the proposal, they would elect 105 convention delegates, one from each state House of Representatives district, during the November 2012 presidential election. The top vote getter in each district would be elected, even if he or she didn't win a majority of the votes. Read more

EDITORIAL: Undo Alabama's racist past

The Huntsville Times
By: John Peck
February 25, 2011

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. _ Alabama's racist past will rear its ugly head again if the Legislature bogs down over a resurrected attempt to remove racist language from its 1901 constitution.

State lawmakers must resist the urge to demagogue.

A similar proposed constitutional amendment was rejected by voters in 2004 after a misleading campaign that it would trigger higher taxes for education.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, plans to lead the latest reform. Racist language referencing poll taxes and segregated schools harm Alabama's image when recruiting economic development projects, he said. Section 256, for example, reads,

"Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of another race." Read more

Republican, Democratic senators offer different plans to alter Alabama's 1901 constitution

The Huntsville Times
By: Bob Lowry
February 25, 2011

MONTGOMERY - Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, says he'll sponsor legislation to strip some racist and offensive language from the 1901 Alabama Constitution. Orr says the references hurt the state's image and can be used against Alabama when it's recruiting against other states for economic development projects. Read more

Joey Kennedy: The calendar says it's way past time for Alabama to have a new constitution

The Birmingham News
November 29, 2010

It's hard to find any reasonable person who'll make a serious defense of Alabama's decrepit constitution. It's the longest in the world, has been amended more than 800 times, centers most all the power in the state in special-interest-controlled Montgomery, hamstrings local governments and is, well, just plain ol' mean.

What's hard to figure out is why it hasn't been kicked to the curb for a better one long before now. Attempts have been made through the years. Yet, we're still stuck with a 110-year-old document that fails in almost every sense. Greater Birmingham Ministries has produced a 2011 calendar pointing out some of the constitution's many flaws to raise public awareness. They're pretty cool. Get one here.

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