REFORM IN THE NEWS

Bob Davis: Goat Hill and its two jobs
From the Anniston Star
04-05-2009

Can you guess the culprit? If you said the state's 1901 Constitution, give yourself a gold star.

The authors of that foul document had two primary goals: 1. Remove voting and other rights from blacks. 2. Keep anyone not rich and powerful from making substantial changes to the established order.

Sadly for us, for democracy and for social progress, they succeeded. Alabama's 1901 founding fathers produced a crippled offspring that is nothing more than a slave to powerful interests.
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Debating the Constitution: Let's go at it another way
The Anniston Star
In our opinion
02-21-2009

For a number of years, state Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, and state Sen. Ted Little, D-Auburn, have introduced a bill that would allow Alabama voters to decide if they wanted a convention to rewrite the 1901 Constitution or replace it with another.

Every year, the bill has died. It's been stuck in a procedural roadblock known as a budget isolation resolution that requires a three-fifths majority before a measure can be considered.

Newton and Little now think they have found a way solution.
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Power to the people
From the Huntsville Times
Monday, February 16, 2009

Some candidates still oppose a constitutional convention.
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Mock Convention Puts Pressure on Reform Opponents
Jennifer Foster Opelika-Auburn
Columnist

Published: February 16, 2009

Saturday in Prattville, former Alabama Chief Justice Gorman Houston swore in the 105 delegates to the first session of Alabama’s mock constitutional convention, sponsored by Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform.

Yes, the convention was only for show. But it is a powerful visual symbol that the constitutional reform movement, nine years in the making, is getting some serious legs.

It’s about time. Alabama’s current constitution, ratified in 1901 even though almost half of the state’s counties opposed it, is riddled with historical anachronisms, racist language and inefficiencies. It strangles local governments and restricts the ability of our city councilors, county commissioners and anyone else outside Montgomery to respond to local needs.
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Group of Alabama voters challenges state Constitution

New vote or document wanted
The Birmingham News
Friday, February 13, 2009
ERIN STOCK
News staff writer

A group of Alabama voters who say the state's constitution was never legally ratified by the people are asking for a new vote on it or on a new constitution.
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Joint resolution to reform constitution is introduced
The Huntsville Times
Friday, February 13, 2009
By BOB LOWRY
Times Staff Writer bob.lowry@htimes.com

Sponsor Little says this way removes two big hurdles

MONTGOMERY - Proponents of reforming the state's 1901 constitution are trying a different approach in the 2009 session of the Alabama Legislature.

Instead of submitting the proposal as a bill, it has been introduced as a joint resolution in the House and the Senate.
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Constitutional convention idea should be on ballot
From the Opelika Auburn News
Editorial
Published February 12, 2009

We salute Ted Little. The Auburn state senator refuses to give up on reforming Alabama’s outdated constitution — a 107-year-old book of law that has been amended 800 times and is in dire need of stepping into the 21st century with the rest of America.
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State loses constitution reform champ
Birmingham News Sunday, February 9, 2009

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A state leader is gone
The Huntsville Times
Saturday, February 07, 2009

Dr. Tom Corts was a major figure in constitutional reform

Alabama lost a leader this week. Dr. Tom Corts of Birmingham, age 67, died of a heart attack.
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Our Perspective — Disenfranchised: Why doesn't anybody really care?
From The Citizen of East Alabama

Received from the source on January 22, 2009
Thursday, November 13th, 2008

... The real issue that concerns us is the flawed condition of the Constitution of the state of Alabama. While amending it may be bigger than one person, the people of Alabama should demand constitutional reform. As long as no one cares and no one presses the issue, the process will remain forever flawed.
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DOTHAN EAGLE EDITORIAL
Published: January 7, 2009

... If the Alabama Legislature could muster the will to authorize a constitutional convention in which delegates could draft a new constitution for Alabama, we could cast off the yoke and construct a guiding document that rectifies problems we’ve been saddled with for years.
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Experts: Local tax increases underline need for constitutional reform
From Today's Anniston Star
By Dan Whisenhunt
Staff Writer

11-23-2008

This month, the Calhoun County Commission and Oxford City Council each increased sales taxes by one cent to raise more money for schools in hard times.

The state's constitution gave them few options.

Alabama's 1901 Constitution, which limits local taxing authority, reared its head again, constitutional reform advocates say.
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A crazy constitution
The Huntsville Times
Monday, November 17, 2008

The November vote puts amendment flaws in spotlight.
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Constitutional reformists to host mock convention
From the TimesDaily
By Trevor Stokes
Staff Writer

Published: Friday, November 14, 2008 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thrusday, November 13, 2008 at 10:46 p.m.

FLORENCE - Alabama constitutional reform advocates Thursday discussed 2009's mock convention, a non-legally binding reworking of the 1901 state constitution supporters hope will relieve the state from what they call an outdated political framework.
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Amendment votes show absurdity
From the Montgomery Advertiser
November 10, 2008

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Alabama voters having to decide on
amendments that don't affect them
and that they know very little about is
anything but euphoric
The Birmingham News
Sunday, November 09, 2008

Five days removed from an historic Election Day, the euphoria continues.

Alabama voters flocked to the polls in record numbers and made monumental decisions, like whether to raise court costs in Russell County, whether to expand the number of people who can elect two members of the Utilities Board of Tuskegee, and whether to prohibit cities outside Blount County from annexing any part of the county without voter approval. Does it get any bigger, any better, than that?

OK, we'll dial down the sarcasm. Yes, those things are important to the people who live in those areas, but that's the point: Those things are important only to the people who live in those areas.

Why should any voter in Alabama who doesn't live there, doesn't care a whit, have to confront those issues on the Election Day ballot as proposed constitutional amendments? For that matter, why should those sorts of issues even have to go before voters, rather than letting local governments decide them?

It's because of the 1901 Constitution of Alabama.
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Once again, voters see firsthand the problems
the 1901 Constitution creates

From the Birmingham News
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Welcome to the end of your ballot, that part filled with obscure proposed constitutional amendments few voters have even heard about, much less studied enough to know whether to approve them.

Don't mistake that criticism for condescension. If it weren't part of our job, we'd be just as befuddled (some would argue we still are).

Voters aren't to blame. Blame the 1901 Constitution of Alabama.
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Outdated constitution binds county leaders
From the Press-Register
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ELECTED OFFICIALS in Washington County have two big worries about taxes.

First and foremost, the county doesn't collect enough taxes to adequately fund basic services. Second, the state's archaic constitution tethers local governments like a ball and chain, limiting their ability to raise money to take care of local needs.
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Again, it's the Constitution: Another example to ponder
Editorials from the Anniston Star
In our opinion
10-17-2008

Have you noticed that when problems arise in Alabama, somehow either the cause of the problem or the lack of a solution can be traced back to the antiquated, oft-amended 1901 state constitution?

Consider the mess Jefferson County is in.
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A point proven
From the Anniston Star
In our opinion
09-02-2008

Just imagine what the authors of the 1901 Alabama Constitution would have thought.

Last Thursday, Alabamians were talking about undoing their evil schemes. The occasion was the 2nd annual Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon, which was sponsored by the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation.
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Poverty's roots lie in state constitution
The Press-Register
Monday, September01, 2008

REPORTS THAT Mobile County and the rest of Alabama continue to have unreasonably high rates of poverty — despite considerable economic growth — should energize citizens and government alike to work for a new Alabama Constitution.
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The tale of two Alabamians
The Anniston Star
By Kristina Scott
Special to The Star
08-31-2008

The naming of Auburn University professor Wayne Flynt, Alabama 's preeminent historian and social reformer, as this year's recipient of the Bailey Thomson Award surely symbolizes the best of times in Alabama.
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From the PRESS-REGISTER
Friday, August 29, 2008
By JILLIAN KRAMER
Staff Reporter

Supporters of efforts to reform Alabama's 1901 constitution met Thursday to honor a former Press-Register editor and advocate for rewriting the document.

More than 250 people gathered at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile - and another 150 people participated via telecast at the Harbert Center in Birmingham - for the second annual Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon.

The Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation, which Thomson helped form in April 2000, hosted the event.
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Dog Days of Summer
The Birmingham News
Monday, August 04, 2008

THE ISSUE: Eventually, Alabama's constitution reform movement will overcome the Legislature's lethargy, inactivity, indolence

Random House Webster's College Dictionary tells us "dog days" are the "sultry part of summer when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun." A second definition: "a period marked by lethargy, inactivity or indolence."

There is no doubt, by either definition (or by walking outside), that we're in the midst of the dog days of summer. It is fitting, then, that a grass-roots group this past week, in the midst of dog days, announced awards honoring those who have distinguished themselves in the effort to reform the state's fundamental charter.  Fitting, because of the thousands of dog days of legislative "lethargy, inactive or indolence" over rewriting Alabama's 1901 Constitution.
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Close, but no cigar
The Anniston Star
07-16-2008

Alabama did not win the Volkswagen plant. The state gave it a good try, and right up to the last moment rumors flew heavy that Alabama's offer had prevailed and the German company had picked a site near Huntsville. But that didn't happen; Tennessee won, and Europe's biggest automaker will build its plant near Chattanooga. Gov. Bob Riley expressed disappointment at the announcement, but he went on to say that he was pleased that the site chosen was close to Alabama. This page feels the same way. The governor's economic development team now needs to assess the Tennessee offer, compare it to what our state was willing — and able — to provide, and learn how to do better next time, if Alabama indeed can do better. In this case, it may be that Tennessee simply had more to offer. Alabama also needs to consider how the state's constitutional limits played into the bidding war. Had Alabama been picked, the governor would have had to call a special session for the Legislature to approve many of the incentives the state had offered. In addition, lawmakers would have needed to pass a proposed constitutional amendment so the state could use money from trusts funded by natural gas royalties. Then that amendment would have gone to the voters in November. The Legislature likely would have approved the incentives and the amendment — and it's almost certain that voters would have fallen into line. But the possibility that the Legislature, or the voters, might not have approved the plan always existed. That may have bothered the Volkswagen leadership.
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The need for a new Constitution
The Randolph Leader
Thursday, June 5, 2008 - Roanoke, Alabama

By passing the education budget in a five-day special session last week, the Legislature, specifically the state Senate, did what it couldn't, or wouldn't, accomplish during the regular session that lasted from Feb. 5 until May 19. This cost us an unnecessary $110,000, but it could have been worse had the special session lasted longer.
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Try Again
Times Daily
Published: May 13, 2008

THE ISSUE

The Legislature killed a bill that would have allowed voters to decide whether to hold a constitutional convention to replace Alabama's heavily amended governing document.

Once again, voters have been denied the opportunity to decide whether to hold a constitutional convention to replace Alabama's much-amendment constitution.
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Our view: Scare tactics don't justify constitution vote
The Daily Home - Covering Talledega, Pell City and Sylacauga
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.
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New hope for reform
The Huntsville Times
Saturday, May 03, 2008

House backers actually got more votes than their opponents

What happened to constitutional reform this week in the state House of Representatives could not, by any stretch, be called a victory. But even in a lopsided loss, reform advocates saw a glimmer of possibility.
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A Broken Legislature
The Huntsville Times
Thursday, May 01, 2008

The 2008 session points out the need for constitutional reform.
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Constitution and budget woes
The Anniston Star
In our opinion
04-21-2008

A budget crisis has revealed just how our state Constitution makes it difficult, if not impossible, to respond to state needs in an effective and efficient manner. Even more evidence of why a new Constitution is an urgent matter.
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State House leader confident in constitutional convention bill
The Anniston Star
By Markeshia Ricks
Capitol Correspondent
04-20-2008

MONTGOMERY — The question of calling a convention to overhaul Alabama's 107-year-old constitution soon will be before state lawmakers.

But getting it passed will be the ultimate test of political muscle and of a grassroots constitutional reform movement's ability to change the minds of legislators.
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Is this evidence?
The Anniston Star
In our opinion
04-07-2008

Opponents of constitutional reform argue that there is no clear evidence that the people of Alabama want it.

"Evidence" is in the eye of the beholder. However, it is safe to say that until now opponents have felt they could safely ignore cries for constitutional reform because there was little, if any, evidence of statewide support.

That may have changed.

A recent poll conducted by the Capital Survey Research Center found that a majority of Alabama citizens want the Legislature to pass pending legislation that would allow the people to vote on whether or not to hold a constitutional convention.
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Alabamians clearly want to vote
click here to read the poll
Editorial
Montgomery Advertiser
April 2, 2008

Maybe most Alabamians want to see a constitutional convention held to draft a new constitution to replace the 1901 document that still forms the organic body of law for our state. Maybe they don't.

What they plainly do want, however, is the chance to decide whether to hold a convention. A new statewide survey indicates widespread support for holding an election on the convention question. The survey shows levels of support throughout a broad demographic range of Alabamians that, if cited as election results, would be seen as landslides.
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The people of Alabama want to vote on whether a citizens convention should draft a new constitution, but will the Legislature let them?
The Birmingham News
Thursday, April 03, 2008

If there's a popular groundswell rising, many Alabama lawmakers will knock each other out of the way to be the first to catch the wave.

So here are some poll results that ought to make lawmakers break out the surfboards: Almost two-thirds of Alabamians surveyed say they want their lawmakers to vote for a bill that would let voters decide whether they want a constitutional convention to draft a new state constitution.
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Return power to state voters
Tuscaloosa News
Published Friday, March 7, 2008

There are arguments to be made for and against a convention to draft a new Alabama constitution. The only certainty is that the current document, enacted in 1901, needs to be replaced.

Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform wraps up all the major arguments: The 1901 Constitution restricts local democracy; it locks in an unfair tax system; it hinders economic development; it limits budget flexibility; it is the longest known constitution in the world; and it has undemocratic origins.

At long last, Alabamians may have a chance to vote on whether to call a convention to draft a new state constitution. The Constitution and Elections Committee of the state House of Representatives voted 9-4 this week for a bill for a statewide referendum concurrent with the 2010 primary elections.

The bill has a long way to go. It faces a vote in the full House, approval by the Senate and endorsement by the governor.
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Our view: House should let people vote
Daily Home
03-07-2008

It’s easy to agree with state Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, when he talks about the call for a rewrite of Alabama’s constitution.

As a House committee on Wednesday considered letting voters decide whether they want a convention to rewrite the state’s constitution, Newton asked members a question.

“Whether you agree we need a new constitution or vehemently disagree, it boils down to one simple thing – do you trust the same people who elected you to the Legislature to make the decision?,” Newton asked the House Constitution and Elections Committee.

On a 9-4 vote, the answer was in the affirmative.
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Alabama House panel votes for plan to let voters decide whether to call a convention to draft a new state constitution
The Birmingham News
Thursday, March 06, 2008
DAVID WHITE
News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - State voters would decide whether to call a convention to draft a new state constitution, under a plan that took an early step toward approval Wednesday.

The Constitution and Elections Committee of the state House of Representatives voted 9-4 for the proposal. Democrats voted for it. Republicans opposed it.

State Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, sponsored House Bill 308 and said he hopes the full House will vote on it within three weeks.

Newton, the second-ranking House member, tried but failed the past two years to get the House to pass a convention bill. "I hope we have the votes this year," Newton said.

If his bill is approved by at least 53 of the 105 House members and at least 18 of the 35 senators, state voters would decide in June 2010 whether to call a convention.
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Key decisions should rest with people
Montgomery Advertiser
Editorial
March 2, 2008

There is room for disagreement as to whether a constitutional convention is the best way to develop a new state constitution to replace Alabama's flawed 1901 document. However, it is hard to argue against allowing Alabamians to decide whether a convention is what they want.
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Seeing the 'groundswell'
Anniston Star
Editorials
In our opinion
02-29-2008

Alabama is locked in convention detention, a prison saying the right thing and doing the right thing are miles apart.

Amid considerable fanfare and high expectations, a bill has been introduced in the state Legislature to allow Alabamians to decide, by vote, if we should hold a convention to rewrite the state's antiquated and inadequate Constitution.

Once again, legislators lined up to testify about their belief in the will of the people — and how the only way the people's will could be known was to let the people vote on such issues.

As you can expect, that's when the back-peddling began. Listen closely and you can hear how legislators can turn democracy on its head.
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Annexations? Look a little deeper
The Huntsville Times
Sunday, February 24, 2008

A newspaper prides itself on reporting issues in its community. In many cases, nobody else covers what we cover - local city councils, the county commissions, the Alabama Legislature.

And not everyone who reads the paper pays attention to the details. I think that's what is happening with regard to a proposal before the Legislature to keep outside cities - namely, Huntsville and Madison, but Decatur, too - from annexing land in Limestone County without the voters in that county having the final say.
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At least we have progress in the Legislature
The Tuscaloosa News
Monday, February 18, 2008

Believe it or not, there are some good bills making their way through the Alabama Legislature.

Last week, the Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee approved a ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers. The bill contains loopholes, but it’s a start.

At the same time, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to implement a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bans capital punishment for people with mental retardation. The court ruled six years ago but Alabama has failed to respond by setting appropriate guidelines. Even though it’s long overdue, the interest is welcome.

The same committee also passed a bill to let Alabamians vote on whether they want to rewrite the state’s 1901 constitution. The full Senate now will consider the proposal, but its chances are not considered good. It has died year after year.

One of the major goals of constitutional reformers is decentralizing the power that the framers of the 1901 Constitution placed in Montgomery. Despite their protests that they are not interested in micromanaging local governments, lawmakers have been extremely reluctant to let go of any of their authority.

That’s what makes a bill that won the approval of the Senate elections committee last week so interesting. It would increase the number of legislators needed to force a statewide vote on a local constitutional amendment.
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What could be more patriotic?
The Birmingham News
Monday, February 18, 2008

THE ISSUE: The Legislature should let Alabama voters decide whether they want a citizens convention to write a new state constitution.

In a burst of patriotism (opportunism?), the state House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow homeowners to fly the American flag, even if neighborhood covenants or rules ban such displays.

The bill now goes to the Senate, and even that bickering bunch seems unlikely to turn down this bill. After all, what could be more patriotic? (Opportunistic?)

Well, how about letting the people of this great state vote? We saw on Feb. 5 what happens when Alabamians are motivated to go to the polls. They turned out in record numbers to have their say in presidential primaries that, for the first time in more than two decades, actually mattered.

The Legislature has a chance to show some real patriotism with a bill that would let Alabama voters decide whether they want a convention of citizens to draft a new state constitution.
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Again, constitutional reform advocates face an uphill fight
The Huntsville Times
Sunday, February 17, 2008

For those who believe that government can be made better and that reform is one way to do it, in this state such beliefs require persistence and patience. Fortunately, the citizens who recognize the crying need for a new state constitution are in possession of both qualities, and year in and year out, they are willing to act on them.

Even so, making things better is never easy.
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Why they are afraid
The Anniston Star
In our opinion
02-15-2008

Once again, bills that would allow the people of Alabama to vote on whether to hold a convention to rewrite the state's antiquated Constitution have been introduced in the House and the Senate.

Once again, convention opponents are preparing their defense. Expecting this opposition, Speaker Pro Tempore Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, who introduced the bill in the House, remarked, "my problem has been that I don't know what they are afraid of."

It's obvious that Newton is not being serious, and that he knows those who oppose a vote on a constitutional convention are afraid that if that vote is held, they, the opponents, would lose.

And if they lost, they are afraid that a constitutional convention might draw up a document that would take from them the historical advantages that have made their special interests so special.
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State constitution on agenda
Reform proposals include rewriting articles or allowing voters to call a convention
Mobile Press-Register
Thursday, February 07, 2008
By BRIAN LYMAN
Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- In what is close to becoming an annual tradition, bills and amendments that would give the public a chance to change the state's 1901 Constitution began stirring this week in the Legislature.

An amendment introduced by state Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, to rewrite the document's banking article passed the House Constitution and Elections Committee Thursday. A second amendment that would rewrite the article regarding corporations was held up over technical concerns about its language.

Also, Speaker Pro Tempore Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, and state Sen. Ted Little, D-Auburn, have reintroduced legislation that would allow voters to decide whether to call a convention to overhaul the constitution.
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A bill that would give county commissions in Alabama the power to regulate quarriesdoesn't solve the real problem: the lack of home rule for county governments
The Birmingham News
Thursday, February 07, 2008

Quarries ought not be the quarry of a bill being proposed for this legislative session.

The correct quarry of any bill that would affect quarries ought to be the Alabama Constitution.

Confused? So, too, are the well-meaning people pushing for a bill that would require quarries to get approval from county commissions or town councils to locate in areas that don't have zoning. In other words, most of unincorporated Alabama. Just three of Alabama's 67 counties have the power to zone in unincorporated areas: Jefferson County and parts of Shelby and Baldwin counties.
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Great-grandson of 1901 Alabama Constitution author wants it rewritten
The Birmingham News
Sunday, November 25, 2007
HILL CARMICHAEL

Archibald Hill Carmichael was born in 1864. He grew up during Reconstruction, became a lawyer and entered politics. His political career would take him both to Montgomery, where he became speaker of the Alabama House, and Washington, D.C., as a U.S. representative for Alabama's 8th Congressional District.

Archibald Hill Carmichael was also one of the 155 favored men who convened in the summer of 1901 to write a new state constitution to replace the Alabama Constitution of 1875.
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Another reason we need reform: Amending Constitution, again
The Anniston Star
11-20-2007
In our opinion - Editorials

Alabama’s state Constitution has been amended 799 times. By now, one would think we would have gotten it right.

But that’s not the case.

In 2008, we will have the opportunity to add 25 more amendments to the ever-expanding list.

In case you do not know why our Constitution has been amended so many times, here’s why:
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The rat in ratification
The Birmingham News
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Editorial

THE ISSUE: Alabamians voted on the 1901 Constitution 106 years ago today. Only through massive voter fraud in the Black Belt were there enough votes to ratify this grievously flawed document.
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Alabamians should not fear reform, but the lack thereof
Editorials from The Daily Home
11-06-2007

Halloween may be over, but still the boogey man lurks around every corner if you listen to opponents of constitutional reform in this state.

He’s been there in the shadows for more than a century now, threatening the balance of power in Alabama. He comes in different forms – taxes, gambling, anything that might scare an Alabamian into thinking he’s better protected by a constitution that really renders him powerless.

That point isn’t lost in a new documentary, “It’s A Thick Book,” which underscores the fallacy that a document to disenfranchise poor white and black voters in 1901 could protect the masses today.
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'It's a thick book' — Reform movement is afoot to rewrite the Alabama Constitution
Area News from The Daily Home
10-28-2007
By Chris Norwood

Alabama’s Constitution of 1901, the state’s current governing document, is the longest such charter on earth. None of the state constitutions from any of the other 49 states even come close. According to Wikipedia, it is twice as long as India’s constitution, which is currently the largest national governing document in the world.
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Constitution reform calls for courage
The Birmingham News
Thursday, October 18, 2007
By John Archibald

State constitutions are meant to serve as the most vital organs of state government.

The law of the land, and all that. The principal principles.

If Alabama's constitution were an organ it would be an infected and swollen appendix. It hurts like the dickens, and it just might kill us if we don't cut the bloated thing out.
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Another reason our Constitution stinks: The smell from up north
From the Anniston Star
In our opinion
10-09-2007

Of the many complaints lodged against our current constitutional arrangement, one of the most frequent is the difficulty that local governments face when they want to regulate things in their own back yards.
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Could it happen here?
From the Anniston Star
In our opinion
09-08-2007

Down in south Alabama, near the town of Atmore, a mini-drama is being played out that should be watched by rural residents throughout the state.

Escambia County is in the heart of the pine belt. Timber has been its livelihood as long as there have been people there. And like so many similar counties, Escambia is pockmarked with clusters of houses that residents consider to be communities but in a legal sense are little more than neighborhoods.

Freemanville is one of these.
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In Alabama, reform is slow, but it truly can happen
The Huntsville Times
Sunday, September 02, 2007

If you doubt that the reform movement is alive and well in Alabama, you obviously weren't in the Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham on Thursday. There, hundreds of citizens - prominent and not so prominent - from all over Alabama gathered in a third-floor ballroom for a pivotal event: the first annual Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon.

The event was sponsored by the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation, an offshoot of the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform.
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Long trek to reform worth it
The Birmingham News
September 02, 2007 11:33 AM
Tom Scarritt

Reform in Alabama is not a sprint, it is an endurance race.

The folks in our state who are striving to replace our outdated, inadequate and immoral constitution got a second or third or fourth wind Thursday at an event honoring some of the pioneers in this long journey. The energy and enthusiasm from that gathering should fuel at least a few more laps around the track
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Constitutional reformers honor Thomson
Mobile Press-Register
Friday, August 31, 2007
By SEBASTIAN KITCHEN
Capital Bureau

BIRMINGHAM -- Advocates for reforming Alabama's 1901 constitution gathered Thursday to honor a pioneer of the movement and to urge more progress in changing what they believe is a dysfunctional and antiquated document.
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Constitutional reform bid pushed
Pulitzer-winning columnist lauds effort, and those who have led it
The Birmingham News
Friday, August 31, 2007
THOMAS SPENCER
News staff writer

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker on Thursday encouraged about 400 advocates of replacing Alabama's 1901 constitution to keep the faith, even if progress is slow.

"We've come a mighty long way," the Monroeville native told a luncheon audience at Birmingham's Harbert Center. "We have a mighty long way to go, but please, don't be discouraged by the journey."

Organized by Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform, the first annual Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon was held to celebrate progress made toward constitutional reform and to honor contributors to the movement.
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Reforming state constitution key to solving problems, says campaigner
Mobile Press-Register
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Many of the big problems in Alabama stem from a single 106-year-old source, according to a spokesman for Greater Birmingham Ministries.

It's Alabama's 1901 Constitution.

"When you really get to talking about a way to solve the major problems in Alabama, that way is the Alabama Constitution," said Hill Carmichael, coordinator of the group's constitutional reform campaign. "Whether you're talking about public transportation or tax reform -- pretty much anything you talk about -- it's the constitution. The way we say it is, the constitution is every issue and every issue is the constitution."

On Aug. 30, Greater Birmingham Ministries will be honored for its campaign at the first-ever Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon in Birmingham, sponsored by the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation.
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A limited cleanup
The Huntsville Times
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New law points up the need to reform the constitution

While the rest of the country may judge Alabama as anachronistic because of the recent legislative punch-out, it would probably be more surprised to learn that some counties are just getting around to imposing and enforcing laws that regulate the accumulation of junk on private property.
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Letting local governments govern
The Birmingham News
Saturday, June 07, 2007

THE ISSUE: It shouldn't take Prichard or any other city or county three years to get something done, but that's often the case because of Alabama's awful constitution.
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Number 800: It's a travesty to all citizens of this state
Hunstville Times
Sunday, June 03, 2007

I have an 800 number for you, but I don't suggest that you call it - because you can't. The 800 number is the number Alabama is rapidly approaching in its total aggregation of state constitutional amendments.
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A fraudulent constitution
From the Birmingham News
Sunday, May 27, 2007

THE ISSUE: This past week 106 years ago, the 1901 Constitution's framers began drafting the document that would constrain Alabama's people and its governments.
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Isn't it ironic?
From the Birmingham News
Editorial
Sunday, May 06, 2007

THE ISSUE: The Alabama Farmers Federation helped kill a bill that would let voters have their say on a new constitution. Lawmakers who voted Alfa's way said they saved voters from special interests.

Tuesday, a powerful special-interest group flexed its muscles in the Legislature to help kill a bill its opponents said would let powerful special-interest groups flex their muscles in the Legislature.

The irony is likely lost on opponents of a new state constitution who ensured, for another year, there won't be one.
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Elected officials don't trust voters
From the Montgomery Advertiser
Friday, May 4,
2007

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Democracy loses another round
From the Anniston Star Editorials
In our opinion
05-03-2007

This looked like the year that the Legislature would vote to allow Alabamians to decide if they wanted a convention to write a new Constitution. It didn't happen. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, pulled the proposal Tuesday when he realized that he did not have the votes on a procedural measure that had to pass to bring the convention plan to the floor.
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Good reason to be unhappy
Editorial from the Birmingham News
Monday, April 30, 2007

THE ISSUE: The state House of Representatives needs to take the next step toward a new constitution by approving a bill that would "let the people vote."

Whatever their T-shirts lacked in taste, they made up for it by being right on message: "We're unhappy because our constitution is crappy."

Many of those gathered Wednesday on the steps of the state Capitol sported the bright red shirt. The crowd of about 120 people, mostly college students, was there to rally for a bill that would let voters decide whether they want a citizens convention to write a new Alabama Constitution.
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House may set Feb 5. for vote
The Birmingham News
Friday, April 27, 2007 DAVID WHITE
News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - The state House of Representatives next week likely will vote on a plan that would let state voters decide Feb. 5 whether to call a convention of 210 delegates to rewrite the state constitution, said Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham.

Newton is the second-ranking House member. He said the plan, which he is sponsoring, likely will come up for debate and possible approval Tuesday or Wednesday.
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Constitution reform gains momentum
The Montgomery Advertiser
By Paul W. Sullivan
April 26, 2007

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Convention bill could come to vote next week, speaker pro tem says
Press-Register
Thursday, April 26, 2007 By BRIAN LYMAN
Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- A bill that would allow Alabamians to decide whether to call a constitutional convention could come to a vote in the House of Representatives as early as next week.

Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, the sponsor of the legislation, said at a constitutional convention rally Wednesday that the bill would pass if it can get past a vote on a budget isolation resolution, a procedural requirement on all legislation taken up before the state's budgets.

"If we get the votes on the BIR, we'll pass it," he said. "And I certainly wouldn't want to be one of the folks to vote against the BIR, even if I was on the other side."
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Lawmakers: Heed call for constitutional reform convention
Daily Home
Editorials
04-15-
2007

Dueling efforts at constitutional reform in Alabama ought to tell voters and lawmakers something. The momentum is building once again for change – in any form.

State Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, is following the years-long lead of the late Jack Venable, a state representative who fought until his death for changing the constitution one article at a time. It couldn’t be done then, and its prospects of success in the future are none too encouraging.

Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, is renewing his fight to change the constitution in its entirety through a constitutional convention of citizens.

If we get a vote, we cast ours for the latter. It represents what democracy is supposed to be about – giving the people a chance to have a say in their own government.

In reality, the people have already spoken. In polls, in resolutions, in petitions, they say they want a new constitution. They want a constitution that puts the power back in their hands, not in those of special interests and a select group of lawmakers in Montgomery.
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Piecemeal reform not the best way: Redo all of the Constitution
The Anniston Star
In our opinion
04-11-
2007

For years the late Rep. Jack Venable argued that Alabama’s Constitution needed to be rewritten. But Venable, ever a member of the Statehouse gang, felt the rewriting should be done by the Legislature — article by article.

Venable even got some of his proposals passed in the House, but as has been so often the case in years past, reform bogged down in the Senate.

Sadly, Venable is no longer with us, but his torch has been picked up by Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, who has introduced bills that would rewrite the banking and corporation portions of the document.
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James L. Evans: Let the people decide
Op-Ed Columns
from the Anniston Star
04-13-2007

The minister who mentored me used to say, “Jim, don't be afraid to trust the people.”

His reference, of course, was to the many decisions Baptist congregations make week in and week out. These decisions range from what color to paint the fellowship hall to who will serve as leaders in the church.

“People who are committed to the well-being of the church,” my mentor would say, “have a way of making the right decision.”

After serving Baptist churches now for more than 30 years I have no reason to doubt that wisdom. People of good faith and good will can be trusted to do the right thing. We may not be perfect, but for the most part we manage to stay on a good and faithful path.

I can't help but believe that the same is true for larger and more diverse communities-like the state of Alabama, for instance. I understand that there are special-interest groups who are only interested in what affects their interests. I also know that these interest groups often hold great sway over our elected leaders and have significant resources for persuading the public at large. But I believe that most of the people in our state who are trying to live meaningful lives also are capable of thinking for themselves.
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Constitution convention bill clears panel
The Birmingham News
Thursday, April 12, 2007
DAVID WHITE - News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - State voters would decide Feb. 5 whether to call a convention of 210 delegates to rewrite the state constitution, under a bill approved Wednesday by a legislative panel.

The Constitution and Elections Committee of the state House of Representatives voted 8-5 for the plan sponsored by Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham.

Newton said he was pleased, especially since the same committee killed a similar bill he sponsored last year. "I think it's a first step in the right direction."
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Bills offer hope for constitutional rewrite
Press-Register
Monay, March 19, 2007

IF THE Alabama constitution were a truck, it would be a 1901 wooden wagon pulled by big mules, because no one made a pickup before 1902. The mules would be old and skinny, hardly capable of pulling the bloated constitution that has acquired so many amendments (more than 700) that it has become the longest constitution in the nation.

The wood slats and bottom of the 1901 wagon would be rotted, mildewed and broken. The wheels would be rusted and bent, the harness decayed and patched together.

It wouldn't serve the needs of 21st century Alabamians any better than the real constitution does.
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Persistence can win
Alabama needs a new state constitution, and as soon as possible
The Huntsville Times
Sunday, March 11, 2007

To get things done in Alabama in the realm of public policy, you have to be persistent - very persistent.  And someday it can pay off.
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1901 Constitution holds back state
Montgomery Advertiser
Friday, March 9, 2007

The Montgomery Advertiser urges citizens to take opportunity to view "It's a Big Book," documentary on Alabama's Constitution.
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Courting a new state constitution
The Birmingham News
Thursday, February 22, 2007

THE ISSUE: The Circuit Judges Association hops aboard the bandwagon for a new fundamental charter for Alabama. There's still lots of room left, especially for legislators' constituents.
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Road Issue Another Case for Reform
Montgomery Advertiser
Friday, January 19, 2007

The Montgomery Advertiser had an excellent editorial on Friday, January 19, 2007 on the need for constitutional reform titled "Road Issue Another Case for Reform".
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State haunted by 1901 constitution
Press-Register
Sunday, January 07, 2007 By ROBERT M. SHAEFER
Special to the Press-Register
Mobile, Alabama

According to the Alabama Constitution of 1901, "The state shall not engage in works of internal improvements."

What an amazing document. It clearly and unabashedly prohibits our state from improving itself.

Why does our constitution forbid improvement, when no other state constitution prohibits progress? The answer is simple: The framers of Alabama's infamous fundamental law did not want to benefit the citizens in any way, shape or form.
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Will '07 bring new Constitution?
Anniston Star
In our opinion
Editorials
01-06-2007

Despite the fact that polls show a majority of Alabamians support efforts to rewrite our antiquated Constitution; despite the fact that the state's democratic heritage all but demands that Alabamians be given the opportunity to vote on how this rewriting would be done; and despite the fact that Alabama legislators are elected by the same people who want to vote on this issue; last year enough of these representatives blocked legislation that would give citizens the right to choose.
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A rhyme for Alabama
Anniston Star
In our opinion
Editorials
12-23-2006

'Twas a few days before Christmas
and all through the state
Alabamians were wishing
to hear of a good fate.
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Constitution costs Prichard
Press-Register
Friday, December 22, 2006

Mobile, Alabama

SOMETHING GOOD could come out of the recent defeat of an amendment that would have allowed Prichard to set up a tariff-free trading zone, if the defeat spurs the Legislature to change the rules governing local constitutional amendments.
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Even more reasons for new constitution
The Birmingham News
Opinion Columnist Bob Blalock
Wednesday, December 06, 2006

We need another reason to rewrite this state's 1901 Constitution like Mal Moore needs another suggestion about who the next University of Alabama football coach should be. But here are a few more arguments for a new fundamental charter to add atop a pile as deep as the intrigue over the search for Mike Shula's replacement:
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Will 2007 be the year for constitutional reform?
Anniston Star
By Brian Lyman
Star Capitol Correspondent
12-03-2006

MONTGOMERY - Advocates of constitutional reform say the door was opened in 2006.

In 2007, they think they have the best chance in years to kick it open.
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Home rule's coming, but the process is slow
Press Register
Monday, November 20, 2006

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL reform might be the only way to bring limited home rule to counties throughout Alabama. While voters in several counties, including Mobile and Baldwin, have approved home rule, voters in other counties seem reluctant to give their county officials more power.
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Op-Ed Columns
Anniston Star
James L. Evans: An open letter to Gov. Riley
11-17-06

Dear Gov. Riley:

Congratulations on your re-election as our governor. Your 58 percent margin is the largest since 1982 when Alabama governor races started being competitive. For my part, I'm glad you won. You have demonstrated understanding about the needs of the poor in our state and have taken significant steps to address their needs.
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The Election's No. 1 issue
In our opinion
Anniston Star
10-19-06

It as been more than a decade since the late Bailey Thomson wrote a searing series of articles that called attention to the fact that so many of Alabama's problems stem from the much-amended 1901 Constitution that hamstrung local government, limited the state's ability to fund services and centralized power in Montgomery, where special interests once known as the Big Mules could sidetrack any change they did not want made.
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Looking for answers
The Birmingham News
Sunday, October 08, 2006

THE ISSUE: Constitutional reformers met Thursday to plan their 2007 strategy for a new Alabama Constitution.

Six weeks after Rondel Rhone became a Clarke County commissioner 14 years ago, he found out what it's like to feel powerless.

One of his constituents had just spent a lot of money fixing up her home for her coming retirement. Then the earthmoving equipment began digging nearby, readying for an all-night truck stop.

The woman asked Rhone what the County Commission could do. "I sympathized with her," he said. "I told her, unfortunately, there is nothing we can do."

There was nothing the Clarke County Commission could do because the 1901 Constitution of Alabama wouldn't allow it. ...
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ASCR works to get support for change
The Crimson White
By Leah Tollison
Contributing Writer
October 06, 2006

With the state election just a month away and neither gubernatorial candidate
saying much about reforming Alabama's constitution, a group of students
on campus wants to change that.
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Constitutional reform game plan eyed
The Birmingham News
Friday, October 06, 2006
DAVID WHITE
News Staff Writer

Montgomery - People who want Alabama to have a new constitution must make
their case with more voters, persuade more legislators, get the legislative
leadership on board and have the governor or another high-profile politician
lead the campaign.

So said several state lawmakers Thursday when the Alabama Citizens for
Constitutional Reform, a nonpartisan grassroots group, met at the Capitol.
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Still waiting for a people's vote
The Birmingham News
Wednesday, October 04, 2006

THE ISSUE: The Legislature refused to let voters decide in November whether they want a citizens convention to draft a new state constitution. Fortunately, ACCR is making sure the issue doesn't go away.

Had the Alabama Legislature done its job this year, Thursday's annual meeting of the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform would be one of celebration, of anticipation, of commitment.

Celebrating the chance for Alabamians to vote Nov. 7 on whether to allow a convention of citizens to write a new state constitution. Anticipating the outcome of the vote. And committing to work tirelessly for the next month to ensure the measure passed.
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Constitutional reform should move to forefront again
Editorials
09-24-2006
Daily Home News

A little more than a month remains before the Nov. 7 general election in Alabama. It is decision time once again for voters in the state, but it’s more than a choice between candidates, it’s about deciding whether or not your voice will one day be heard.
So far, the cries of reform for Alabama’s archaic constitution remain muffled by a Legislature unwilling to relinquish much of its power.
In the final days of the 2006 legislative session, lawmakers said ‘no’ to allowing the people to vote on whether to hold a convention to rewrite the state’s century-old constitution.
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Limited home rule gains momentum
Editorials
07-07-2006
Daily Home (Talladega)

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 before state lawmakers to get permission to solve them.

And that's just plan wrong.
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Backdoor reform
FROM TODAY'S ANNISTON STAR:
Editorials
In our opinion
07-03-2006

In case you missed it (and we did), Alabama got itself a little constitutional reform this year.

It came in an area where we badly need it — home rule.

For this, you can thank the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama and the voters of Mobile, Autauga, Dallas, Jackson and Marshall counties.
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Voters inch toward constitution reform
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
By SALLIE OWEN Mobile Press Register
Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- Without changing Alabama's oft-criticized 1901 constitution, voters in Mobile and four other counties this month inched toward fixing what many consider one of the document's most troublesome flaws.

Those primary voters empowered their county commissioners to make someone address nuisances such as unsanitary sewage, noise, litter and rubbish, pollution, overgrown weeds, junkyards and unrestrained animals.

For years, reform advocates have said the 1901 constitution denies "home rule" to counties and favors special interests by centralizing power in Montgomery. Its restrictions have led to nearly 800 constitutional amendments, many pertaining to single localities.
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Wisdom from the mouths of babes
The Anniston Star
In our opinion
06-06-06

This space, as any frequent visitor can attest, cares a great deal about reforming Alabama's Constitution. Why? Because all sensible Alabamians know it severely limits Alabama — its people, its functions of government, its learning institutions, its businesses.

Untie our hands from the bindings of the 1901 Constitution — which was created to protect the interests of the wealthy and to oppress African-Americans — and there's no telling how far we can go.

Friends of constitutional reform, take heart. A youth movement agrees with us. It's right there in The Star's Graduation Special 2006 publication..
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Constitution conundrum
The Birmingham News
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Maybe it's wrong to believe there's a place for logic in the Legislature. But there must be some logical way to explain why voters in November won't be able to decide whether they want a citizens convention to write a new Alabama constitution.

Most lawmakers, remember, wanted no part in this year's legislative session of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have given voters the choice. A new poll suggests those lawmakers ignored the will of the people - of both major political parties.
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New hope for reform
The Huntsville Times
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

State voters may actually be way ahead of their legislators

Last week, when the Alabama Legislature ended its 2006 regular session, the prospects for constitutional reform seemed dead - again. Lawmakers refused even to let the voters decide whether to call a constitutional convention. Anti-reform interests appeared to have the issue in a stranglehold.

But now there's new hope.
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Legislature 2006: Winners and losers
FROM TODAY'S ANNISTON STAR
EDITORIALS
In our opinion
04-19-2006

Back at the beginning of the session, we did a series of editorials on the various agendas the state’s special interests were going to push to have passed. Now, with the session behind us, we can look over what was accomplished and see who won, who lost and who ended up with half a loaf.
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Off the hook
The Birmingham News
Sunday, April 02, 2006

Wednesday, the Alabama Senate concurred with the House on a resolution to name a rest stop on Interstate 65 after Guy Hunt.

Senators also commended newspaper publisher Carol Pappas on being elected president of the Alabama Press Association.

And they congratulated the Patrician Academy Lady Saints basketball team on winning the AISA 2A state basketball championship.

But the Senate had no time to debate a bill that would let voters choose in November whether Alabama needs a convention of citizens to write a new constitution.
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Trusting voters, or maybe not
The Birmingham News
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This week, Alabama' K-12 schools are out for spring break. So, too, is the Legislature.

For Alabama voters - at least those who remained home this week - it is as good a chance as any to cross paths with their lawmakers, many of whom are using the time to campaign for re-election.
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Tax fears still threaten reform
Montgomery Advertiser
March 15, 2006

A new statewide poll indicates a strong level of support for a new state constitution, but also reflects broad concern over taxation. The latter finding is especially important, as it reflects the indefatigable efforts of anti-reform forces to paint the constitutional reform movement as a scheme to raise taxes.
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Alabama at a tipping point
In our opinion
03-07-2006 Anniston Star

Gov. Bob Riley, speaking before members of the Alabama Press Association in Montgomery on Saturday, launched into his familiar refrain. Just because he says it often, though, doesn't mean it's not important.
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Senate panel backs bill to allow vote on constitution convention
The Birmingham News
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
DAVID WHITE
News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - State voters could decide Nov. 7 whether to call a convention that could propose a new state constitution, under a bill passed Tuesday by a Senate committee.

The Senate's constitution and elections committee voted 10-0 for the bill. It next could be voted on by the full 35-member Senate as soon as Thursday, if the agenda-setting Senate Rules Committee were to give it priority.
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A special (interest) vote
The Birmingham News
February 19, 2006

One vote does not a statesman make, but boy, it can unmask a politician beholden to Montgomery's powerful special interests.

That's the message of a House committee's vote Wednesday on a bill to let voters decide in November whether they want a citizens convention to write a new Alabama Constitution. The House Constitution and Elections Committee deadlocked 7-7, keeping the bill from going to the full House for a vote.
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Legislators stand out for different reasons
Mobile Register
Saturday, February 18, 2006

FOUR LEGISLATORS from Mobile and Baldwin counties distinguished themselves in the Legislature this week. Unfortunately, only Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Gulf Shores, deserves praise.

The other three — Reps. Joseph Mitchell, D-Mobile, Randy Davis, R-Daphne, and Joe Faust, R-Fairhope — marked themselves by working against south Alabama.
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How long, Alabama?
The Huntsville Times
By John Ehinger
Saturday, February 18, 2006

As many times before, constitutional reform seems headed nowhere

Every year, the Alabama Legislature is asked to set into motion the procedures that would allow Alabama voters to write a new constitution. Every year, the Alabama Legislature refuses. This year appears to be no exception.
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Trust today's Alabamians to draft a modern constitution
The Decatur Daily, 201 1st Ave. SE
2/20/06

Letting the people decide something terrifies those who don't want change, especially if they are benefiting from the way things are.

That's what is happening with a proposal to move toward rewriting Alabama's outdated state constitution by calling a convention. The proposal died last week by a 7-7 vote of the House Constitution and Elections Committee, with Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, among those voting against it.
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Losing on a tie vote
FROM THE VALLEY TIMES-NEWS
By CY WOOD
Editor-Publisher
Published Friday, February 17, 2006 11:39 AM EST

Tie goes to the runner in baseball, but in legislation a tie vote is a loser. Constitutional reform in Alabama suffered a loss Wednesday in Montgomery.

It was just a committee vote on an issue that hasn't energized Alabama citizens, but the 7-7 vote in the House Constitution and Elections Committee is another frustrating setback for constitutional reform advocates in the state.
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Constitutional reform stalls as referendum is denied
Mobile Register
Thursday, February 16, 2006
By BILL BARROW
Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- Reformers must find another path toward a citizen convention to rewrite the state's 1901 Constitution after an Alabama House panel deadlocked at 7-7 Wednesday, effectively killing a bill that would allow a public referendum on the matter.
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Politicians don't trust people to vote wisely
Mobile Register
Thursday, February 16, 2006

OVER THE years, Alabama politicians have offered an assortment of excuses for why they aren't interested in rewriting the state constitution.

None of the excuses -- which range from "We can fix it via the amendment process" to "There's nothing wrong with centralizing power in Montgomery" -- holds water. But the weakest has got to be (and we're paraphrasing here), "Let the people decide? Are you crazy?"
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State constitution debate renewed in public hearing on bill
FROM THE ANNISTON STAR:
By Brian Lyman
Star Capitol Correspondent
02-15-2006

MONTGOMERY - Round Two of this year's debate over the state constitution featured invocations of God, condemnations of racist language and appeals for and against amending Alabama's 105-year-old document.
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Issue matters more than this
January 30, 2006 Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama plainly needs a broad-based debate over a new state constitution, but it has to be a serious, intellectually honest debate. If it isn't, if it consists of remarks as ludicrous as two offered during a legislative hearing last week, then it is hard to imagine that any meaningful reform can ever occur.
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New drive for a new constitution
Published January 29. 2006 6:01AM Gadsden Times

Passionate arguments offered for and against it

The drive has begun anew for lawmakers to give Alabamians a chance to vote on whether they are ready to chuck the state's massive state constitution, a document crafted in 1901 to lock power in the state capital.
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Opposing sides face off over state constitution
Mobile Register
Thursday, January 26, 2006
By BILL BARROW and DAVID FERRARA
Staff Reporters

MONTGOMERY -- Competing camps converged Wednesday on the Alabama Capitol, simultaneously lauding and loathing the state's 1901 constitution.
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Rally to urge new constitution
Mobile Register
January 23, 2006
Rhoda A. Pickett

Several hundred Alabamians are expected to gather on the Capitol steps in Montgomery Wednesday to rally for the right to vote on a new state constitution.
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Constitutional reform ought to be priority in state
Daily Home Online, Talladega
01-22-2006

Alabama has been through it before. Momentum builds among the people for a constitutional convention to rewrite the state's archaic governing document, and nothing happens in the Legislature to bring it about.
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Voters should decide whether they want a new constitution
Huntsville Times
January 15, 2006
By John Ehinger

If Alabama is to have a new state constitution to replace the cumbersome and flawed document of 1901, who should decide - if not the people? And if the people want a new constitution, who should decide what's in it and not in it - if not the people?
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Why wait for reform?
Anniston Star
In our opinion
01-15-2006

Constitutional reform can wait? Don't tell that to state lawmakers Ted Little and Demetrius Newton. In its upcoming session, the Legislature will have a chance to break the back of the state's unjust Constitution, the duo announced at a Wednesday news conference in Montgomery.
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If Iraq gets a new constitution, why not Alabama?
Opelika-Auburn News
January 10, 2006

Alabama would be better off if more communities demanded from their elected officials that they follow Ted Little's lead.
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A matter of trust
Birmingham News
Sunday, January 08, 2006

On Nov. 7, Alabama voters will choose the next governor and other constitutional officers, as well as who will represent them in the next Legislature.

All those candidates are trusting the people to make the right decision in their races. But how much do the candidates, particularly those running for legislative seats, really trust the people?

One way to find out is by watching what happens in the Legislature to a proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution that would let voters choose in November whether they want a convention of citizens to write a new constitution.
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ACCR to rally Jan. 25
Dateline Alabama.com
January 21, 2006
Sarah Thomson

Jan. 21 | Despite losing its leader two years ago, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform activists are optimistic about the movement's future.
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The Alabama Constitution of 1901: Lawmakers have a chance to put rewrite of constitution in the hands of the people
By Lenora Pate
Special to The Star
01-22-2006

It's time! Indeed, it's past time to let the people vote for a constitutional convention to rewrite Alabama's archaic, unfair, unjust and immoral 1901 Constitution. This document enshrines an inefficient, unwieldy and costly system of governance, encourages racial division, perpetuates economic injustices, shackles education advancement, handicaps local governments and reflects a profound mistrust of the citizens of Alabama.
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Hope for reform still alive
Birmingham News
December 4, 2005
Tom Scarritt

For years, those of us who believe Alabama needs a new constitution have hoped the continuing crises in state government might prompt reform. We were wrong.
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Hearing set on constitutional convention bill
Birmingham News, April 1, 2005

Alabama voters would decide by mid-September whether to call a convention to draft a new state constitution, under a proposal scheduled for debate next week at the State House. The Senate's 12-member constitution and elections committee will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday on the bill by state Sen. Ted Little, D-Auburn.
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If Iraq gets new constitution, why not us?
Birmingham News, February 2, 2005

Millions of Iraqis braved suicide bombers, mortar attacks and gunshots to vote for a governing assembly that will write a new constitution for Iraq. That temporary body will draft a document by December, to be voted on by the Iraqi people. It begs the question: If Iraq's citizens can vote for a new constitution, why can't Alabama's? xxx
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On Amendment Two
Huntsville Times, October 12, 2004
By John Ehinger

Given the relentlessly negative tone of the national presidential campaign, it's easy to be cynical these days over any debate that purports to be about one thing when it, in fact, could be about another.
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Constitutional reform group to be out at polls
Mobile Register, October 22, 2004
By Sallie Owen

A group dedicated to holding a constitutional convention to rewrite Alabama's governing document will begin a year-long petition drive at the polls Nov. 2. Volunteers across the state hope to collect 50,000 signatures that day.
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Is it time for a rewrite?
Andalusia-Star News, October 15, 2004
By Kim Henderson

The "current" version was written in 1901. It's not so current by 2004 standards. What's known as Alabama's highest code of law - the state's constitution - to this day carries a plethora of strong racial and sexist language.
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Group still pushes new constitution
Huntsville Times, October 12, 2004
By John Ehinger

When Hartwell Lutz tries to persuade people to sign a petition in favor of creating a new state constitution, he shows them a big fat book. Then he tells them that the tome he's holding is the Alabama Constitution. Then he says it's an old edition that lacks 150 of the latest amendments. "I say it's just a mess, and it needs to be replaced," he said.
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Plus or minus One — Our problems are still with us
Anniston Star, September 6, 2004
By Sid McAnnally, special to The Star

Across the state, editorial writers will be looking back to Sept. 9, 2003, and a vote that rejected the boldest single initiative ever on an Alabama ballot. Many will see the vote as the end of a reform movement, but a closer look shows that the issues raised by Amendment One have dominated the past year, and continue to drive politics in Alabama.
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State's husky constitution could add 35 amendments
Birmingham News, August 9, 2004
By David White, staff writer

Alabama's constitution, already the biggest in the nation, may be about to get bigger. Alabama voters will face 35 proposed amendments to the state constitution on the Nov. 2 ballot. Since November 1998, they have considered more than 140 such changes to the bulky document.
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Reform revitalized
Dothan Eagle, April 18, 2004

If Bailey Thomson had a dream, it was almost certainly to see the people of Alabama governed by a fair, efficient and thoughtfully conceived constitution. Perhaps more than any other Alabamian, he knew the shortcomings of our 103-year-old constitution, its checkered history and dubious origins.
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Constitution reform takes a back seat
Huntsville Times, April 11, 2004
By Anthony McCartney, correspondent

From the lack of discussion about tax and constitution reform since the failure of last year's Amendment One and the subsequent budget crisis, one might think that the efforts didn't just get pushed to the back seat of politicians' agendas -- they got run over.
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Senate approves limited home rule for counties
Associated Press, April 1, 2004

The Alabama Senate is ready to give limited home rule to counties to control weeds, stray animals, public water and sewer services, and some noise problems. The Senate voted in favor of a limited home rule bill, which will now go to the House for consideration.
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Group rallies support for constitutional reform
Times Daily, March 4, 2004
By Michelle Rupe Eubanks, staff writer

The hefty weight of Alabama's constitution was lifted several times Wednesday to illustrate its bulk. Dr. Thomas Corts lifted the weighty document throughout his speech Wednesday afternoon at a rally for constitutional reform.
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Suppressing silliness
Birmingham News, March 5, 2004

There it is, in black and white in Section 86 of the 1901 Alabama Constitution: "The legislature shall pass such penal laws as it may deem expedient to suppress the evil practice of dueling." Apparently, the Legislature has done a pretty fair job of suppressing dueling in Alabama. When's the last time we've had a good duel?
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Home rule amendment to be presented once again
Crimson White, January 28, 2004

A bill presented last year that would give Alabamians the power to decide whether to grant home rule to counties may come up again in this year's legislative session.
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REFORM IN THE NEWS - STUDENT NEWS
Alabama Students for Constitutional Reform
The Exponent, February 10, 2005

Imagine, only for a moment, that in this day and age, you happen to live in a state that has a constitution that was written way back in 1901. Everything from mosquito control to bingo is included within the 104 year-old constitution and because of the complicated and punitive tax laws set forth in this state constitution, the poorest citizens of that state pay nearly eleven percent of their income in state taxes, while the wealthiest one percent has to pay just four percent of their income to state taxes.
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