Clutter in the state Constitution: Some of the Nov. 6 amendments deserve to be passed
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Oct 25, 2012 | 2506 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A quick look at the amendments proposed to Alabama’s antiquated 1901 Constitution should convince voters that the document needs to be thrown out and replaced with a new one.

Unfortunately, there is not much chance of that. Instead of a new Constitution, Alabamians are left to witness a piecemeal picking away at the most outrageous and outdated aspects of the document that governs us. It’s like tearing down an old barn one rotten splinter at a time; this is really inefficient and it could take awhile.

That’s not to suggest that the amendments being proposed are meaningless. Three amendments produced by the bipartisan Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission, created under the leadership of Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, and Gov. Robert Bentley deserve your support. They do.

Chaired by former Gov. Albert Brewer, the commission is taking a measured, moderate approach to constitutional reform. Though there is little indication they intend to take up hard issues, like taxes, anytime soon, what they are proposing is not inconsequential.

Cleaning up the racist language in the education article of the Constitution, where black and white children are prohibited from going to school together, is a good idea. We’d note that the argument that this would help Auburn and Alabama recruiting rings a bit hollow, however. Also, the feckless pandering to the state’s extremists by taking out the “right to an education” language is disappointing. However, this vote is about cleaning up a PR problem, and a negative vote would serve to reinforce ugly stereotypes about Alabama. The Star’s editorial board recommends a yes vote on Amendment 4.

Revising the corporation articles (Amendment 9) and bringing them up to date also needs to pass. Meanwhile, Amendment 10, which updates the banking article and gets rid of the section that allows banks to print money, shows voters that the state Constitution is antiquated and irrelevant in areas other than race. The Star’s editorial board recommends yes votes on Amendments 9 and 10.

So, once again, Alabamians are being asked to vote to enlarge what is already one of the longest (maybe THE longest) and one of the most cumbersome (perhaps THE most cumbersome) constitutions on the face of the earth. However, there are some worthwhile amendments here, and numbers 4, 9 and 10 fall into that category.
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