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
Proceedings would be published
to guide public and legislative discussion.
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
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