Limited home rule gains momentum
Editorials
07-07-2006 Daily Home (Talladega)

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We've said over and over again. Local issues facing local people need to be handled locally.

But across this state, Alabamians continue to keep that power in the hands of lawmakers in Montgomery. It is another remnant of a constitution that serves few but the most powerful in the capital city.

It's called home rule, and few counties have the power to use it to decide such basic issues as barking dogs, litter, weeds and other health and safety problems. Why? Because Alabama's constitution is written to ensure that even the most basic of problems must come beefore state lawmakers to get permission to solve them.

And that's just plain wrong.

There is hope, though. A philosophy shift appears to be happening in this state with five counties asking for – and getting – limited home rule. In the June 6 primaries, Autauga, Dallas, Jackson, Marshall and Mobile all put the matter up for a vote of the people, and the people said ‘yes,’ they wanted their issues decided locally.

On the Nov. 7 general election, three more counties, Bibb, DeKalb and Escambia, will follow suit.

In St. Clair County, officials there have had limited home rule for years with no distinguishable problems. Talladega County has yet to take the plunge.

It seems obvious that this growing county-by-county vote to gain limited home rule only reinforces the notion that a new constitution could simply put the deciding of local issues back into the hands of local folks. That’s where it belongs – in all parts of this state, not just pockets of it.

Of course that would be common sense, and a glance at the longest constitution in the country with some 800 amendments is all it would take to see that common sense is the only issue not covered in it.

We said it before, and we’ll say it again. If Alabama truly wants to be a New South state, it needs a new constitution that serves it well.

What it doesn’t need is a more than century-old, hodge-podge of examples of how to concentrate the power in this state in the hands of a few to the detriment of the masses.

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