State Constitution rewrite, 10 amendments on ballot

News Staff Report

Tuesday’s ballot will include a vote on re-organizing the State Constitution. If the matter is approved by voters, the revised constitution will do ONLY the following:
*Rearrange so that similar subjects are located together
*Remove racist language
*Delete repeated or repealed portions / language
*Place all economic development amendments together
*Arrange local amendments by county

The ballot also includes 10 amendments to the Constitution. The Alabama Republican Party offers a brief look at each one, and the effect its passage will have:
(1) ANIAH’S LAW — Named after kidnap and murder victim Aniah Blanchard, voter approval would expand the constitutional provision allowing judges to deny bail in capital offenses to include other violent felonies.
(2) EXPANDING BROADBAND — Currently, Alabama law forbids county or municipal governments from giving money or a “thing of value” to individuals or corporations. Approval would allow local governments to spend grant money with private industry for the purposes of expanding broadband.
(3) COMMUTATION NOTIFICATION — If passed, failure to notify the victim’s family would void any reprieve or commutation of sentence issued by the Governor’s office. The amendment would require the Governor to notify a victim’s family when commuting a death sentence.
(4) ENACTING ELECTION LAW CHANGES — This amendment is aimed at giving voters confidence in the integrity of election results by ensuring the rules cannot be changed in the middle of a cycle. Approval would prohibit any changes to election laws and procedures six months prior to a General Election.
(5) ELIMINATING INCONSISTENT LANGUAGE FROM THE CONSTITUTION — Case law states juvenile matters (excluding adoption and guardianship) are the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system. Approval would remove references to probate judges overseeing “orphan business.”
(6) MUNICIPAL TAX USE — Currently, these areas are required by the constitution to take out loans – and pay interest for these projects, even if there is cash on hand. Would allow about 40 municipalities to use ad valorem taxes to “pay-as-you-go” for capital improvements.
(7) ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT — Currently there is a limit on Constitutional authority for certain cities and counties to pursue economic development. Would afford all Cities and Counties equal footing for economic development if passed.
(8) SEWER SYSTEM REGULATION — If passed, the PSC would be allowed to set rates for a period of time. Would bring some privately-owned sewer systems in Shelby County under the regulation of the Alabama Public Service Commission.
(9) SEWER SYSTEM REGULATION — The PSC would regulate the sewer company in Lake View for four years, in order to protect its customers from being overcharged, if passed. Would allow the Public Service Commission to regulate a privately-owned sewer system in Tuscaloosa County.
(10) HOUSKEEPING MEASURE — This will keep the Constitution consistent. Would authorize all amendments passed by the voters on November 8th (and thereafter) to be listed in order of passage as amendments to the Constitution of 2022.