Rewrite the Alabama Constitution?
Why the Push for a new Alabama Constitution
First, they insist that property taxes are too low and the reason is clear: The people have the final say on whether or not to raise them. A rewrite of the Constitution would surely remove the requirement of a vote of the people to raise taxes on real estate and certain personal property.
Second, they believe that county governments should have unbridled authority to raise taxes and control the use of rural land through zoning. To soften the impact of giving county commissions this expansion of power, they coined the phrase "home rule," which really means nothing more than absolute power to tax, regulate and control. A new Constitution would without doubt give commissions this power.
As an aside, special interest groups such as the gambling interest are already carving out their territory. Do you believe a new Constitution would contain language to prohibit casino gambling? What would be the impact on our courts if all current legal precedent were erased and each phrase, word, or even syllable of a new Constitution had to be litigated? Trial lawyers see this as utopia.
Does the Alabama Constitution need a little housekeeping? Yes, and that process is under way. A group of responsible legislators is looking at a plan to offer amendments to the Constitution that would remove obsolete language, and combine or clean up existing provisions.
Also, the format could be changed to make the document easier to access. For example, all local amendments could be in one section and arranged alphabetically by county. This-one-step-at-a-time approach would allow the voters to view the process with full disclosure, and vote on clear, well defined issues. Any attempt to rewrite the entire document and present it to the people as a whole would invite demagoguery and deceit, and the public would be asked to vote without the foggiest idea of the content.
We do not need to buy the empty arguments of those who worship at the altar of big government. The last thing we need is a constitutional convention or, even worse, giving the Montgomery politicians the power to rewrite the entire constitution in one sitting.
Why Rewrite and Reform the Alabama Constitution ACCR
(Former State Rep.) Larry Sims
Why do they ACCR want a re-write?
Do we need a Constitutional Rewrite? No!
Can we afford a Constitutional Rewrite? No!
Test your Constitutional IQ. Read the following, then decide.
True of False
A new constitution would mean more government. True
More government means higher taxes. True
More government means more regulations. True
The present constitution is an unworkable document. False
The present constitution is too old. False
The present constitution prevents home rule for counties. False
The grassroots (i.e. the people) are demanding a rewrite. False
The present constitution is a racist document. False
For those who have a strong Alabama history background, you will likely have answered the questions 1 through 3 as true. For those who do not, examine the State Budget Office website. The office has the appropriation posted for years 1997 through 2002, which includes both the Education Fund and the General Fund. Both funds increased significantly during this period. How much more money will be needed to satisfy the appetites of the money-hungry proponents (ACCR) of the constitutional rewrite?
Question 4: How many law suits or controversies have shown that the 1901 Constitution is unworkable? - NONE!
Question 5: Many states are still using constitutions that predate our 1901 Constitution. New Hampshire's constitution was adopted in 1784, Vermont's in 1793, Ohio 1851, Iowa 1857, Oregon 1859, Pennsylvania 1874, Wyoming 1889, Idaho 1890, and Delaware 1897. Closer to home: Tennessee - 1870 and Mississippi - 1890. Good judgment in the creation of a document that establishes a sound foundation for government does not become outdated with time.
Question 6: The proponents for a rewrite are non-specific in their accusations against the constitution. The 1901 Constitution does not prevent home rule. The next time you hear this comment made, ask for the Article and Section that specifically prevents home rule. Home rule is made more difficult by the constitution, but many localities have already been granted some form of home rule.
Question 7: How many people do you know who are demanding a rewrite of the constitution? Special interest groups have tried to generate publicity indicating that the citizenry is demanding a new constitution but there is little evidence to support such a claim. Grassroots organizations do not operate with the level of financing we see being spent on this push for a constitutional convention.
Question 8: It is true that the original authors of our 1901 Constitution intended it to be discriminatory and it remained so for many years, but those elements have already been removed by amendment or court order and are no longer in effect.
The cost of a rewrite of our 1901 Constitution has not been mentioned by the proponents... and for good reason! Not only would there be a large financial cost for a constitutional convention, but there would be many other political and legal ramifications that would have to be reconciled. A hundred years of legal precedents would be rendered obsolete and clarification of existing law would provide a field-day for trial lawyers. The full effect of a rewrite can only be guessed at but one can well imagine the upheaval that will likely result.
The fact that you are reading this is evidence that you possess a quality that is rare these days - an interest in your government's affairs. Far too many do not take the time nor the effort to investigate the issues, nor even go to the polls and cast a vote. Whether you agree or disagree with our position, please follow-up with additional research. Regardless of the folk-wisdom often expressed, ignorance is not bliss!
You will not find the tenets of our 1901 Constitution being taught in the Alabama public schools of today. The very individuals upon whom our future rests are not being given the information needed to make sound judgments. Article 1 of the 1901 Constitution guarantees the citizens of Alabama 36 rights - 26 more than the United States Bill of Rights.
On-going efforts of a small group in Montgomery would drastically change Article 1. Through the efforts of Representative Jack Veneble, a bill to rewrite Section 1 successfully passed the House. One of the fourteen rights the Honorable Mr. Veneble wanted to take out was Section 35, which states: "The sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression."
This is the lynch-pin of our unique political system, that people derive power from our Creator (inalienable rights) and only transfer specific responsibilities to the government, a con cept that has kept our nation free and safe.
KEEP YOUR RIGHTS - RETAIN OUR CURRENT CONSTITUTION
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