We hope that you have done your homework before you go to the polls in November to vote for your favorite candidate. There will be a vote to completely replace the outdated and morally corrupt 1901 Alabama Constitution and Ten (10) new amendments to the 1901 Constitution.
I know your first question. If we ratify a new Constitution do we need the amendments in the first place? Probably not, but just in case the subject matter is not covered in the new version, we should vote on them anyway. Amendment 10 speaks to this question.
The following is a summary of the meaning of the amendments. This is not my version, it is the summary offered by the Fair Ballot Commission and prepared by the Legislative Services Agency.
RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF ALABAMA OF 2022
This is the ratification vote on the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, which is a recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, prepared in accordance with Amendment 951: (1) Rearranging the constitution so that similar subjects are located together; (2) removing racist language; (3) deleting repeated or repealed portions/language; (4) placing all amendments which deal with economic development together; and (5) arranging local amendments by county. These are the only changes being made to the existing constitution. The full text of the constitution can be found on the website of LSA, as well as the Secretary of State.
AMENDMENT #1 (ACT 2021-201):
This amendment would enact “Aniah’s Law” and provide that, prior to a conviction, a person is not entitled to bail if the person is charged with capital murder, murder, kidnapping 1st, rape 1st, sodomy 1st, sexual torture, domestic violence 1st, human trafficking 1st, burglary 1st, arson 1st, robbery 1st, terrorism when the specified offense is a Class A felony other than murder, or aggravated child abuse of a child under the age of six years.
AMENDMENT #2 (ACT 2022-117):
This amendment would authorize the state, a county, or a municipality to grant sources of funding to any public or private entity for the purpose of providing or expanding broadband infrastructure. A county or municipality that grants funds to a private entity must approve the funding to the private entity at a public meeting.
AMENDMENT #3 (ACT 2022-256):
This amendment would require the Governor to notify the Attorney General and make reasonable attempts to notify the family of a victim prior to the commutation of a death sentence. If the Governor fails to notify the required parties, the decision to commute a death sentence would be void.
AMENDMENT #4 (ACT 2021-284):
This amendment would require any legislation that relates to the conduct of a general election to have an effective date at least six months before the date of the general election to which the legislation applies.
AMENDMENT #5 (ACT 2021-202):
This amendment would remove outdated language, “orphans’ business,” from the general jurisdiction of the probate court.
AMENDMENT #6 (ACT 2021-327):
This amendment would authorize certain named municipalities that are already authorized to levy and collect, after approval at a referendum, a special ad valorem tax of five mills ($.50 on each $100 of assessed value) for special purposes, to additionally use the proceeds from that tax to directly pay the costs of public capital improvements on a pay-as-you-go basis, and to pay the principal and interest on bonds to finance the capital improvements. The specified municipalities are Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Hurtsboro, Russellville, Lanett, Demopolis, Pell City, Heflin, Columbiana, Carrollton, Opelika, Fairhope, Pine Hill, Scottsboro, Stevenson, Ashland, Brewton, Pollard, Flomaton, Atmore, Inglenook, Tuskegee, Aliceville, Gordo, Reform, Livingston, Camden, Monroeville, Phenix or Girard, Birmingham, Bessemer, Florence, Huntsville, Selma, Fairfield, Anniston, Athens, Jacksonville, Auburn, Carbon Hill, and Lafayette. This amendment would also ratify prior actions by the municipalities.
AMENDMENT #7 (ACT 2022-286):
This amendment would revise the requirements that must be satisfied by counties and municipalities for incurring debt for economic development projects and where notices of public meetings may be published by counties and municipalities considering lending to private entities. This amendment would also ratify actions and agreements made prior to this amendment’s ratification date.
AMENDMENT #8 (ACT 2021-199):
This amendment would apply only in Shelby County and provide for private sewer systems that use the public rights-of-way of public roads to be certified and regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC). If the county, a municipality, or a governmental utility service corporation enters into a rate control agreement with a sewer system, the governmental entity may opt out of regulation by the PSC.
AMENDMENT #9 (ACT 2022-288):
This amendment would apply only in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties and provides that any privately owned sewer system that has customers in the city limits of Lake View which uses the rights- of-way of public roads would be required to be certified and regulated by the Public Service Commission from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2027.
AMENDMENT #10 (ACT 2022-177):
This amendment would allow the placement of any other simultaneously ratified amendments into the Constitution of Alabama of 2022 so that each is fully incorporated. It also provides that all unchanged provisions of the Constitution of Alabama of 2022 should be interpreted in the same manner as the identical provision in the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. This amendment is contingent on the ratification of the new Constitution of Alabama of 2022.
Read the Fair Ballot Commission’s summaries of the 10 amendments and the proposed Constitution of 2022.
The November general election is Tuesday November 8, 2022.