UA students voice need for new constitution
Article published Oct 24, 2006 Tuscaloosa News

University of Alabama students are making an extraordinary effort to draw attention to reforming the state’s constitution this homecoming week.

The UA branch of Students for Constitutional Reform will read the Alabama Constitution over two days today and Wednesday on the steps of Reese Phifer Hall.

Alabama’s constitution was written in 1901 but has been under scrutiny for decades.

Its massive number of amendments -- 773 -- is one of many things that make it ripe for revision. Today it’s about 12 times longer than the typical state constitution and one of the longest known constitutions in the world. And more amendments are on the ballot next month.

About 40 students and community members are expected to participate in the reading that will continue through the night. The Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform is partnering with students from 13 schools across the state to draw attention to Alabama’s Constitution.

“175 Years of Crimson Glory ... Welcome Home" is the theme for this years’ homecoming.

A great welcome home for any Alabama native would be to return to a state with a reformed constitution.

Whether that will be voted on, however, is up to state lawmakers. Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform plans to make another attempt in 2007 to persuade the Legislature to let voters decide if they want a citizens’ convention to draft a new constitution.

That may not be the best answer but there is a longstanding need for change. The bottleneck remains the state Legislature.

Perhaps the lawmakers should stay up all night with students and listen to the Constitution as the readers drone on. That might convince them that reform is in order.

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