2006 Archived Articles and Editorials

A rhyme for Alabama
Anniston Star
In our opinion
Editorials
12-23-2006

'Twas a few days before Christmas
and all through the state
Alabamians were wishing
to hear of a good fate.
learn more »

Constitution costs Prichard
Press-Register
Friday, December 22, 2006

Mobile, Alabama

SOMETHING GOOD could come out of the recent defeat of an amendment that would have allowed Prichard to set up a tariff-free trading zone, if the defeat spurs the Legislature to change the rules governing local constitutional amendments.
learn more »

Even more reasons for new constitution
The Birmingham News
Opinion Columnist Bob Blalock
Wednesday, December 06, 2006

We need another reason to rewrite this state's 1901 Constitution like Mal Moore needs another suggestion about who the next University of Alabama football coach should be. But here are a few more arguments for a new fundamental charter to add atop a pile as deep as the intrigue over the search for Mike Shula's replacement:
learn more »

Will 2007 be the year for constitutional reform?
Anniston Star
By Brian Lyman
Star Capitol Correspondent
12-03-2006

MONTGOMERY - Advocates of constitutional reform say the door was opened in 2006.

In 2007, they think they have the best chance in years to kick it open.
learn more »

Home rule's coming, but the process is slow
Press Register
Monday, November 20, 2006

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL reform might be the only way to bring limited home rule to counties throughout Alabama. While voters in several counties, including Mobile and Baldwin, have approved home rule, voters in other counties seem reluctant to give their county officials more power.
learn more »

Op-Ed Columns
Anniston Star
James L. Evans: An open letter to Gov. Riley
11-17-06

Dear Gov. Riley:

Congratulations on your re-election as our governor. Your 58 percent margin is the largest since 1982 when Alabama governor races started being competitive. For my part, I'm glad you won. You have demonstrated understanding about the needs of the poor in our state and have taken significant steps to address their needs.
learn more »

The Election's No. 1 issue
In our opinion
Anniston Star
10-19-06

It as been more than a decade since the late Bailey Thomson wrote a searing series of articles that called attention to the fact that so many of Alabama's problems stem from the much-amended 1901 Constitution that hamstrung local government, limited the state's ability to fund services and centralized power in Montgomery, where special interests once known as the Big Mules could sidetrack any change they did not want made.
learn more »

Looking for answers
The Birmingham News
Sunday, October 08, 2006

THE ISSUE: Constitutional reformers met Thursday to plan their 2007 strategy for a new Alabama Constitution.

Six weeks after Rondel Rhone became a Clarke County commissioner 14 years ago, he found out what it's like to feel powerless.

One of his constituents had just spent a lot of money fixing up her home for her coming retirement. Then the earthmoving equipment began digging nearby, readying for an all-night truck stop.

The woman asked Rhone what the County Commission could do. "I sympathized with her," he said. "I told her, unfortunately, there is nothing we can do."

There was nothing the Clarke County Commission could do because the 1901 Constitution of Alabama wouldn't allow it. ...
learn more »

ASCR works to get support for change
The Crimson White
By Leah Tollison
Contributing Writer
October 06, 2006

With the state election just a month away and neither gubernatorial candidate
saying much about reforming Alabama's constitution, a group of students
on campus wants to change that.
learn more »

Constitutional reform game plan eyed
The Birmingham News
Friday, October 06, 2006
DAVID WHITE
News Staff Writer

Montgomery - People who want Alabama to have a new constitution must make
their case with more voters, persuade more legislators, get the legislative
leadership on board and have the governor or another high-profile politician
lead the campaign.

So said several state lawmakers Thursday when the Alabama Citizens for
Constitutional Reform, a nonpartisan grassroots group, met at the Capitol.
learn more »

Still waiting for a people's vote
The Birmingham News
Wednesday, October 04, 2006

THE ISSUE: The Legislature refused to let voters decide in November whether they want a citizens convention to draft a new state constitution. Fortunately, ACCR is making sure the issue doesn't go away.

Had the Alabama Legislature done its job this year, Thursday's annual meeting of the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform would be one of celebration, of anticipation, of commitment.

Celebrating the chance for Alabamians to vote Nov. 7 on whether to allow a convention of citizens to write a new state constitution. Anticipating the outcome of the vote. And committing to work tirelessly for the next month to ensure the measure passed.
learn more »

Constitutional reform should move to forefront again
Editorials
09-24-2006
Daily Home News

A little more than a month remains before the Nov. 7 general election in Alabama. It is decision time once again for voters in the state, but it’s more than a choice between candidates, it’s about deciding whether or not your voice will one day be heard.
So far, the cries of reform for Alabama’s archaic constitution remain muffled by a Legislature unwilling to relinquish much of its power.
In the final days of the 2006 legislative session, lawmakers said ‘no’ to allowing the people to vote on whether to hold a convention to rewrite the state’s century-old constitution.
learn more »

Limited home rule gains momentum
Editorials
07-07-2006
Daily Home (Talladega)

We've said over and over again. Local issues facing local people need to be handled locally.

But across this state, Alabamians continue to keep that power in the hands of lawmakers in Montgomery. It is another remnant of a constitution that serves few but the most powerful in the capital city.

It's called home rule, and few counties have the power to use it to decide such basic issues as barking dogs, litter, weeds and other health and safety problems. Why? Because Alabama's constitution is written to ensure that even the most basic of problems must come before state lawmakers to get permission to solve them.

And that's just plan wrong.
learn more »

Backdoor reform
FROM TODAY'S ANNISTON STAR:
Editorials
In our opinion
07-03-2006

In case you missed it (and we did), Alabama got itself a little constitutional reform this year.

It came in an area where we badly need it — home rule.

For this, you can thank the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama and the voters of Mobile, Autauga, Dallas, Jackson and Marshall counties.
learn more »

Voters inch toward constitution reform
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
By SALLIE OWEN Mobile Press Register
Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- Without changing Alabama's oft-criticized 1901 constitution, voters in Mobile and four other counties this month inched toward fixing what many consider one of the document's most troublesome flaws.

Those primary voters empowered their county commissioners to make someone address nuisances such as unsanitary sewage, noise, litter and rubbish, pollution, overgrown weeds, junkyards and unrestrained animals.

For years, reform advocates have said the 1901 constitution denies "home rule" to counties and favors special interests by centralizing power in Montgomery. Its restrictions have led to nearly 800 constitutional amendments, many pertaining to single localities.
learn more »

Wisdom from the mouths of babes
The Anniston Star
In our opinion
06-06-06

This space, as any frequent visitor can attest, cares a great deal about reforming Alabama's Constitution. Why? Because all sensible Alabamians know it severely limits Alabama — its people, its functions of government, its learning institutions, its businesses.

Untie our hands from the bindings of the 1901 Constitution — which was created to protect the interests of the wealthy and to oppress African-Americans — and there's no telling how far we can go.

Friends of constitutional reform, take heart. A youth movement agrees with us. It's right there in The Star's Graduation Special 2006 publication..
learn more »

Constitution conundrum
The Birmingham News
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Maybe it's wrong to believe there's a place for logic in the Legislature. But there must be some logical way to explain why voters in November won't be able to decide whether they want a citizens convention to write a new Alabama constitution.

Most lawmakers, remember, wanted no part in this year's legislative session of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have given voters the choice. A new poll suggests those lawmakers ignored the will of the people - of both major political parties.
learn more »

New hope for reform
The Huntsville Times
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

State voters may actually be way ahead of their legislators

Last week, when the Alabama Legislature ended its 2006 regular session, the prospects for constitutional reform seemed dead - again. Lawmakers refused even to let the voters decide whether to call a constitutional convention. Anti-reform interests appeared to have the issue in a stranglehold.

But now there's new hope.
learn more »

Legislature 2006: Winners and losers
FROM TODAY'S ANNISTON STAR
EDITORIALS
In our opinion
04-19-2006

Back at the beginning of the session, we did a series of editorials on the various agendas the state’s special interests were going to push to have passed. Now, with the session behind us, we can look over what was accomplished and see who won, who lost and who ended up with half a loaf.
learn more »

Off the hook
The Birmingham News
Sunday, April 02, 2006

Wednesday, the Alabama Senate concurred with the House on a resolution to name a rest stop on Interstate 65 after Guy Hunt.

Senators also commended newspaper publisher Carol Pappas on being elected president of the Alabama Press Association.

And they congratulated the Patrician Academy Lady Saints basketball team on winning the AISA 2A state basketball championship.

But the Senate had no time to debate a bill that would let voters choose in November whether Alabama needs a convention of citizens to write a new constitution.
learn more »

Trusting voters, or maybe not
The Birmingham News
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This week, Alabama' K-12 schools are out for spring break. So, too, is the Legislature.

For Alabama voters - at least those who remained home this week - it is as good a chance as any to cross paths with their lawmakers, many of whom are using the time to campaign for re-election.
learn more »

Tax fears still threaten reform
Montgomery Advertiser
March 15, 2006

A new statewide poll indicates a strong level of support for a new state constitution, but also reflects broad concern over taxation. The latter finding is especially important, as it reflects the indefatigable efforts of anti-reform forces to paint the constitutional reform movement as a scheme to raise taxes.
learn more »

Alabama at a tipping point
In our opinion
03-07-2006 Anniston Star

Gov. Bob Riley, speaking before members of the Alabama Press Association in Montgomery on Saturday, launched into his familiar refrain. Just because he says it often, though, doesn't mean it's not important.
learn more »

Senate panel backs bill to allow vote on constitution convention
The Birmingham News
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
DAVID WHITE
News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - State voters could decide Nov. 7 whether to call a convention that could propose a new state constitution, under a bill passed Tuesday by a Senate committee.

The Senate's constitution and elections committee voted 10-0 for the bill. It next could be voted on by the full 35-member Senate as soon as Thursday, if the agenda-setting Senate Rules Committee were to give it priority.
learn more »

A special (interest) vote
The Birmingham News
February 19, 2006

One vote does not a statesman make, but boy, it can unmask a politician beholden to Montgomery's powerful special interests.

That's the message of a House committee's vote Wednesday on a bill to let voters decide in November whether they want a citizens convention to write a new Alabama Constitution. The House Constitution and Elections Committee deadlocked 7-7, keeping the bill from going to the full House for a vote.
learn more »

Legislators stand out for different reasons
Mobile Register
Saturday, February 18, 2006

FOUR LEGISLATORS from Mobile and Baldwin counties distinguished themselves in the Legislature this week. Unfortunately, only Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Gulf Shores, deserves praise.

The other three — Reps. Joseph Mitchell, D-Mobile, Randy Davis, R-Daphne, and Joe Faust, R-Fairhope — marked themselves by working against south Alabama.
learn more »

How long, Alabama?
The Huntsville Times
By John Ehinger
Saturday, February 18, 2006

As many times before, constitutional reform seems headed nowhere

Every year, the Alabama Legislature is asked to set into motion the procedures that would allow Alabama voters to write a new constitution. Every year, the Alabama Legislature refuses. This year appears to be no exception.
learn more »

Trust today's Alabamians to draft a modern constitution
The Decatur Daily, 201 1st Ave. SE
2/20/06

Letting the people decide something terrifies those who don't want change, especially if they are benefiting from the way things are.

That's what is happening with a proposal to move toward rewriting Alabama's outdated state constitution by calling a convention. The proposal died last week by a 7-7 vote of the House Constitution and Elections Committee, with Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, among those voting against it.
learn more »

Losing on a tie vote
FROM THE VALLEY TIMES-NEWS
By CY WOOD
Editor-Publisher
Published Friday, February 17, 2006 11:39 AM EST

Tie goes to the runner in baseball, but in legislation a tie vote is a loser. Constitutional reform in Alabama suffered a loss Wednesday in Montgomery.

It was just a committee vote on an issue that hasn't energized Alabama citizens, but the 7-7 vote in the House Constitution and Elections Committee is another frustrating setback for constitutional reform advocates in the state.
learn more »

Constitutional reform stalls as referendum is denied
Mobile Register
Thursday, February 16, 2006
By BILL BARROW
Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- 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.
learn more »

Politicians don't trust people to vote wisely
Mobile Register
Thursday, February 16, 2006

OVER THE years, Alabama politicians have offered an assortment of excuses for why they aren't interested in rewriting the state constitution.

None of the excuses -- which range from "We can fix it via the amendment process" to "There's nothing wrong with centralizing power in Montgomery" -- holds water. But the weakest has got to be (and we're paraphrasing here), "Let the people decide? Are you crazy?"
learn more »

State constitution debate renewed in public hearing on bill
FROM THE ANNISTON STAR:
By Brian Lyman
Star Capitol Correspondent
02-15-2006

MONTGOMERY - Round Two of this year's debate over the state constitution featured invocations of God, condemnations of racist language and appeals for and against amending Alabama's 105-year-old document.
learn more »

Issue matters more than this
January 30, 2006 Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama plainly needs a broad-based debate over a new state constitution, but it has to be a serious, intellectually honest debate. If it isn't, if it consists of remarks as ludicrous as two offered during a legislative hearing last week, then it is hard to imagine that any meaningful reform can ever occur.
learn more »

New drive for a new constitution
Published January 29. 2006 6:01AM Gadsden Times

Passionate arguments offered for and against it

The drive has begun anew for lawmakers to give Alabamians a chance to vote on whether they are ready to chuck the state's massive state constitution, a document crafted in 1901 to lock power in the state capital.
learn more »

Opposing sides face off over state constitution
Mobile Register
Thursday, January 26, 2006
By BILL BARROW and DAVID FERRARA
Staff Reporters

MONTGOMERY -- Competing camps converged Wednesday on the Alabama Capitol, simultaneously lauding and loathing the state's 1901 constitution.
learn more »

Rally to urge new constitution
Mobile Register
January 23, 2006
Rhoda A. Pickett

Several hundred Alabamians are expected to gather on the Capitol steps in Montgomery Wednesday to rally for the right to vote on a new state constitution.
learn more »

Constitutional reform ought to be priority in state
Daily Home Online, Talladega
01-22-2006

Alabama has been through it before. Momentum builds among the people for a constitutional convention to rewrite the state's archaic governing document, and nothing happens in the Legislature to bring it about.
learn more »

Voters should decide whether they want a new constitution
Huntsville Times
January 15, 2006
By John Ehinger

If Alabama is to have a new state constitution to replace the cumbersome and flawed document of 1901, who should decide - if not the people? And if the people want a new constitution, who should decide what's in it and not in it - if not the people?
learn more »

Why wait for reform?
Anniston Star
In our opinion
01-15-2006

Constitutional reform can wait? Don't tell that to state lawmakers Ted Little and Demetrius Newton. In its upcoming session, the Legislature will have a chance to break the back of the state's unjust Constitution, the duo announced at a Wednesday news conference in Montgomery.
learn more »

If Iraq gets a new constitution, why not Alabama?
Opelika-Auburn News
January 10, 2006

Alabama would be better off if more communities demanded from their elected officials that they follow Ted Little's lead.
learn more »

A matter of trust
Birmingham News
Sunday, January 08, 2006

On Nov. 7, Alabama voters will choose the next governor and other constitutional officers, as well as who will represent them in the next Legislature.

All those candidates are trusting the people to make the right decision in their races. But how much do the candidates, particularly those running for legislative seats, really trust the people?

One way to find out is by watching what happens in the Legislature to a proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution that would let voters choose in November whether they want a convention of citizens to write a new constitution.
learn more »

ACCR to rally Jan. 25
Dateline Alabama.com
January 21, 2006
Sarah Thomson

Jan. 21 | Despite losing its leader two years ago, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform activists are optimistic about the movement's future.
learn more »

The Alabama Constitution of 1901: Lawmakers have a chance to put rewrite of constitution in the hands of the people
By Lenora Pate
Special to The Star
01-22-2006

It's time! Indeed, it's past time to let the people vote for a constitutional convention to rewrite Alabama's archaic, unfair, unjust and immoral 1901 Constitution. This document enshrines an inefficient, unwieldy and costly system of governance, encourages racial division, perpetuates economic injustices, shackles education advancement, handicaps local governments and reflects a profound mistrust of the citizens of Alabama.
learn more »;