Our view: Scare tactics don't justify constitution vote
The Daily Home - Covering Talledega, Pell City and Sylcauga
Editorials
05-04-2008

Boo! No, it’s not Halloween. It’s the time when the Alabama Legislature is in session, and it annually blocks the effort to have the people of this state decide whether they want to call a convention to write a new constitution.

And instead of goblins and ghouls, lawmakers employ the scariest of tactics around these parts – the mere mention of taxes and gambling – to ensure that the bill never quite comes to a vote.

It doesn’t matter that the 1901 constitution was outdated when it was written. No matter that it has had to be amended about 800 times just to make it applicable to today’s society. And what the heck if it still contains racist language and centers power in the state capital rather than here at home where it belongs?

Four little words, “more taxes, legalized gambling” – that’s all it takes to scare the heart right out of the intent. What proponents are trying to do is put the people back in control of the process by letting them determine whether this state needs a new constitution or not.

But opponents won’t even chance letting the people have their say. The House fell short of the three-fifths vote it needed to even consider it.

They try to scare the people with the laughable argument that special interests would be in charge of a constitutional convention while they hold their hands out to take money from the very special interests that continue to control the Legislature and its voting.

The whole circular mess is nothing but a farce. And those voters who keep sending the opponents of letting them have their say back to the Legislature term after term ought to rethink their costly decision.

Taxes and gambling aren’t the scariest prospects for this state. But continuing the status quo of a constitution that hamstrings good government and puts it squarely in the hands of special interests is nothing short of frightening for Alabama's future.

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