2010 Archived Articles and Editorials

REFORM IN THE NEWS

Advertiser editorial: Need for home rule shown again

The Montgomery Advertiser
June 25, 2010

In a land of common-sense governance, two neighboring municipalities with disputes over boundaries and tax collections could work out a mutually acceptable arrangement and get on with business. After all, it's no concern of any other entity. It's certainly not the concern of the state Legislature.

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Bob Blalock: Tuesday brought the good, bad and ugly for constitution reformers

Bob Blalock--The Birmingham News
June 6, 2010

For those who dream of a new Alabama constituiton, Tuesday's party primaries played like a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western: There was the good, the bad and the ugly.

We'll save the good for later. First, the "ugly".

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OUR VIEW: The Supreme Court's ruling that threw out a lawsuit claiming the state constitution wasn't legally ratified leaves in place a 'wrong without a remedy'

The Birmingham News Editorial Board
April 29, 2010

We don't suppose there are any African-American Alabamians, say, about 130 years old or so, who lost their right to vote after the 1901 Constitution of Alabama was ratified. Because that's what it would take, according to the Alabama Supreme Court, to have proper legal standing in a lawsuit claiming top state officials violated voters' rights by failing to ensure the constitution was ratified legally.

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Justice or fairness?

The Anniston Star Editorial Board
April 29, 2010

When it comes to Alabama’s 1901 Constitution, it has long been known — even acknowledged by those involved — that its ratification was shrouded in fraud.

Most historians agree that in Alabama’s Black Belt, votes were cast in favor of the Constitution even though the voters never appeared at the polls. Additionally, the votes of those who did appear were either not counted or were counted for ratification when, in fact, they were cast against it.

That’s why nine African-American residents in Alabama brought suit recently to have the ratification of the 1901 Constitution set aside because of voter fraud.

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Davis, Sparks clash over rewriting constitution

By: Thomas Spencer - The Birmingham News
April 28, 2010

Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep Artur Davis continued his state tour advocating reform of Alabama’s constitution Wednesday with a stop at Vulcan Park.

Davis responded to allegations leveled by Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, his opponent in the June 1 primary, that the citizen convention Davis advocates for rewriting the state’s 1901 constitution would be dominated by “special interests.”

Davis said it was a “rich irony” that Sparks instead wants to leave it to the Legislature to rewrite the constitution. That’s the center of special interest power in Alabama, Davis said.

Take a deep look at our Legislature

The Anniston Star
April 25, 2010

As the political cliché goes, states are laboratories of democracy. So wrote Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in 1932, and countless others have since reaffirmed the lofty sentiment.

Embracing its accuracy, we must conclude that Alabama's state government is a laboratory full of mad scientists, equipped with outmoded, rusty tools.

Yes, it's another rant against the 1901 Constitution. It's the gift that keeps on giving, or in our case, taking.

Only in Alabama could the conservative position favor a process that calls for centralizing government power to make decisions for hundreds of localities. "Devolution" of government deeper into the grassroots was all the rage during the Republican revolution of the mid-1990s.

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Overdue Reform

The Randolph Leader
March 3, 2010

Alabama's constitution was created in 1901 and now has 836 amendments, making it by far the largest such document in the country. Another 25 amendments will be on the ballot this fall, many of them strictly local issues that should not require a constitutional amendment or a statewide vote.

Under our 1901 constitution, we are not allowed to change it unless our legislators allow us to vote on it, which they have been unwilling to do. A majority of them like things the way they are since the constitution puts all the power in their hands.

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Editorial: State Constitution suits lawmakers just fine

The Dothan Eagle
February 25, 2010

There are many in Alabama whose faith in the legislative process is such that they firmly believe the state would be better governed by 140 lawmakers chosen at random from a stack of telephone books.

There are also times when such sarcasm begins to sound ... well ... reasonable.

This week is one of those times.

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OUR VIEW: The state House of Representatives doesn't trust Alabama voters enough to decide whether they want a new state constitution

The Birmingham News
February 25, 2010

The Alabama House on Tuesday tabled a bill that would let voters decide whether to allow a citizens convention to write a new state constitution. Supporters of a new Alabama constitution are a well-mannered bunch. They are prone to polite petitions, reading the endless document in public, holding mock conventions to draft a better fundamental charter, and such.

Otherwise, they'd take to the House of Representatives gallery today, brandishing signs with not-so-clever messages like "Impeach Rep. Adolf Hitler," and shouting down lawmakers for not allowing the people of Alabama to vote on the issue.

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Bill to rewrite constitution killed

The Montgomery Advertiser
February 24, 2010

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Toxic Brew

The Anniston Star Editorial Board
February 24, 2010

Every once in a while, Alabamians need a reminder about the priorities on Goat Hill.

Tuesday, that reminder arrived with a thud.

Despite so many reasons to support constitutional reform — unfair taxation and concentrated power in Montgomery, for starters — the state House again screamed no. Same story, same disappointment.

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Let people decide what's best for them

The Daily Home
February 14, 2010

The evidence was right there in the headline of a Birmingham newspaper: “City manager bill gets 31-0 Senate approval.”

A local community wanted to change its form of government to allow a city manager to run the day-to-day operation. All the Vestavia City Council wanted was a professional manager to run its multi-million dollar operation. It sounded reasonable because it was.

The part of this story that’s unreasonable is that the city council had to ask lawmakers in Montgomery for permission. That’s right. A city in Jefferson County cannot make that decision without first going through the Alabama Legislature.

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Constitution no laughing matter. Residents should demand action by legislators

By The Gadsden Times
January 11, 2010

Picking on the number of amendments in Alabama’s constitution is almost too easy. That the constitution has some 827 amendments already is indicative of problems with the constitution, but the real issue is more about how power is centralized in Montgomery.

Twenty-five amendments are on the ballots this year with most of them being local amendments.

Three are statewide and one of them illustrates the absurdity of how Alabama’s government is structured.

In November, state voters will decide if the propane gas industry can charge its members a fee to be used to promote the industry.

As the kids say, really?

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