Symposium on
the Alabama constitution

A Symposium on the Alabama Constitution was held
in Montgomery December 13-15, 1995.

Purpose

The purpose of the symposium was to generate public debate about the merits and deficiencies of Alabama's Constitution of 1901. Opinion leaders from throughout the state, from all walks of life, were invited to come together to share their ideas about constitutional revision in Alabama. Participants in the symposium had the opportunity to discuss ideas and alternatives and make recommendations for change. Organizers hoped that as a result of the symposium:

Public attention would be focused on the question of how well the current constitution meets current needs; the emphasis was be on whether revision of the constitution is necessary, or acceptance that the current document adequately responds to state needs;

Public and private leadership would be developed to aid in establishing a framework for possible constitutional change;

Proceedings would be published to guide public and legislative discussion.

Participants

Symposium participants were selected based on their potential for contribution to the public discussion. Invited participants were given the opportunity to discuss the subject matter, to suggest areas for further study and to make recommendations for approaches to change. Approximately one-hundred participants were invited. Among those invited were:

State Legislators: The legislative committee members from the House and Senate Constitution and Elections Committees were invited to attend.

Also included were Lieutenant Governor Don Siegelman, Senate President Pro Tempore Michael Figures, House Speaker James S. Clark, House Speaker Pro Tempore Seth Hammett, Jerry Bassett of Legislative Research Service, and Joyce Bigbee of the Legislative Fiscal Office.

The Fob James Administration: Representatives from the administration of Governor Fob James were invited to participate in the symposium. Among those invited were the Governor, Chief-of-Staff, Finance Director, Budget Director, ADECA Director, and Revenue Commissioner.

Local Government Leaders: Representatives from local government were selected based on general agreement of who might contribute most effectively; they were asked to debate and draft the local government amendment which was part of the debate on Friday during the Mock Convention. Approximately ten municipal and county government officials were invited.

Business Leaders and Citizens: Business persons and citizens from outside government were encourage to also participate. Individuals considered for participation included prominent businesspersons, educators, professionals, and clergy.

Excluded from consideration were registered lobbyists. Proceedings Invited papers were prepared for selected topics to be presented on the first two days of the symposium. The focus of these papers was the structural components of the current constitution, alternatives, and recommendations for reform. The results of the Mock Convention will be prepared as a part of the proceedings.

Papers from the symposium available here.


Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
P. O. Box 10746
Birmingham, AL 35202-0746



E-mail: accr@constitutionalreform.org
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