Eleven amendments to consider on Tuesday's ballot - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Eleven amendments to consider on Tuesday's ballot

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Tuesday's ballot includes more than voting for president, congressional representatives, and judges. Turn the ballot over and find eleven proposed amendments to Alabama's 1901 constitution.

Amendment 2 has garnered the most attention. Governor Robert Bentley is running television commercials encouraging passage. The Birmingham Business Alliance supports the amendment. This would allow the state to issue millions in bonds for industrial incentives. The state is approaching the $750 million limit on an existing amendment for bonds. This amendment, if approved would allow the state to issue new bonds as the older ones are paid off as long as the state's total indebtedness does not exceed $750 million.

Now, let us move on to the remaining ten amendments. Three of these proposed measure have nothing to do with any community in central Alabama. Amendments 3, 5 and 11 are measures affecting the counties of Baldwin, Mobile, and Lawrence respectively. Although all Alabama voters can vote on these amendments, some will not because they do not "have a dog in that fight."

Three amendments on the ballot have to do with bringing language in the state's constitution up to present day. Amendment nine rewrites language dealing with corporations and amendment ten rewrites the section on banking. Both proposed amendments went through the Constitutional Revision Commission and passed the state legislature. Representative Paul DeMarco, (R-Homewood) calls this a start. He said, "I think that this is the most efficient and transparent way and most importantly, the public will have a final say on the constitution which is the charter of the state."

Amendment number four is written to remove racist language that mandates segregated schools and poll taxes out of the state constitution. A similar amendment failed in 2004. This year, African American legislators and the Alabama Education Association oppose the amendment this time around. They contend the amendment keeps other language that says there is no right to a taxpayer funded education in Alabama. Keep in mind, next year, the Constitutional Revision Commission will revise the entire education article of the constitution. Constitutional law experts have said this proposed amendment does not threaten school funding or the right to an education. Governor Bentley said, "some people are opposed to it, but, let me tell you, I am for cleaning up the racial language in our constitution. I have always been for that. We need to bring our constitution into this century."

Stay with us, just four more amendments to consider. Amendment six is a symbolic challenge to the Affordable Care Act. It would make the state constitution say that people and employers in Alabama could opt out of the federal healthcare overhaul. Keep in mind, however, federal law supercedes state law, and, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act earlier this year.

Amendment one is the Forever Wild Amendment. It would simply reauthorize the Forever Wild Land Conservation program for another 20 years.

Amendment seven deals with the formation of unions in Alabama. This amendment would require a secret ballot, not a card check by employees who say they want to organize a union at their place of employment.

Finally, amendment eight would undo that 62% pay increase state lawmakers voted for themselves in 2007.  Instead, pay for state legislators would be linked to the state's median household income. The amendment, if it passes, would take effect after the 2014 elections.

 

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