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Thursday, February 16, 2006
Alabama Constitutional Reform Suffers Setback
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:48 am

Via the Mobile Register: Constitutional reform stalls as referendum is denied

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.

Tie votes in legislative committees go to the “nays.”

The deciding vote on the House Constitution and Elections Committee was cast by Rep. Joseph Mitchell, D-Mobile, who said he generally supports the concept of a rewrite and a citizen convention but opposes the details of how convention delegates would be chosen under the bill sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham.

7-7 is progress, I suppose. Of course, I always find reasoning along the lines of “I like the proposal, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted” to be most annoying.

The proposal is not yet dead, as there is a pending Senate bill, and the House bill could, theoretically, be recalled.

This state desperately needs constitutional reform, so all setbacks are disappointing. Of course, that the process has made it to this stage is encouraging. I fear it may take several more legistlative sessions before a bill even makes it to the floor, but will maintain hope that the Senate bill will escape committee and go from there.

Filed under: Alabama Politics | |Send TrackBack


  1. Please answer me this, how will Constitutional reform make my life better? And how can I be assured that those in power will not use this opportunity to benefit the bureaucracy in Montgomery, i.e. raising taxes.

    Comment by c.v. — Thursday, February 16, 2006 @ 9:19 am

  2. The same way taxes are kept low now: that’s what voters want, and therefore they elecet reps to the legislature who know that.

    It is a myth that the thing that keeps taxes low in this state is the magic of the 1901 constitution.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, February 16, 2006 @ 9:27 am

  3. I guess my question would be better stated what would a new constitution do for the citizens of Alabama? Why will it help? That has been the problem with the “new constitution” crowd. They are unable to explain the need. Yes, some think that taxes will be raised but most are just uncomfortable about those currently in Montgomery making the changes. I know that a constitutional convention will be called but the politicians will have their hand on the rewrite. Montgomery is seen as a sest pool of political back room deals and misconduct but the people still elect these guys and gals. I guess people see their rep or senator as not part of the problem, it is more of popularity contest that a true debate on the issues that face us each day.

    Comment by c.v. — Thursday, February 16, 2006 @ 10:07 am

  4. Well, as one of the “new constitution crowd” I have written on the topic numerous times, both on the blog and in print.

    Exhibit 1 on the Constitution is the ridiculous need to amend the thing: we’ve done it over 700 times in just over 100 years. That fact, in and of itself, is indicative of a flawed document. Go look at the content of those amendments and you’ll see even further the nature of the problem (e.g., allowing goat and sheep farmers the right to assess a fee on themselves-this is the stuff of a constitution?).

    The document is anti-economic growth and is anti-democratic in terms of local governance.

    And if i might note, simply calling Montgomery a cesspool isn’t really engaging in a true debate on the issues of the day, either. And also: I do often find it odd that those who are so upset with the current state of government in the state wouldn’t want the chance for substantial change.

    I will try and compile a post on this topic in the near term.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, February 16, 2006 @ 12:25 pm

  5. Maybe if you militarized to face an enemy that didn’t exist you could get that constitution reworked … ;-)

    Comment by bryan — Thursday, February 16, 2006 @ 7:34 pm

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