z

 A crowded bandwagon
.
Constitution reform group holds final public meeting


Opinion
December 8, 2002


   
So who's not on the bandwagon for constitution reform, outside of a few fringe groups and special interests that want to protect their low-tax status?

   Alabamians have elected a governor who has promised that fixing some of the most grievous flaws in the 1901 Constitution is at the top of his agenda. The leaders of the Senate (Lt. Gov.-elect Lucy Baxley) and House (Speaker Seth Hammett) have voiced support for reform. Public opinion polls show that most Alabamians want a rewritten state charter, a sentiment they expressed on Election Day when 81 percent of voters said yes to an amendment ensuring that the people have the final say on a new document.

   With the Legislature going into session in March, Alabama is reaching critical mass on finally changing a century-old document that has throttled this state's potential. A big reason why is the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform, a grass-roots effort that has nurtured the cause for a new constitution like the best green-thumb gardener grows prize-winning roses.

   At 4:30 p.m. today in Auburn, as part of its final public meeting, ACCR's Citizens Commission on Constitutional Reform is holding a special session for the public to allow citizens on a nonwork day to discuss issues on constitution reform. Monday, at 9 a.m., the commission will meet to discuss debt and taxation as they relate to the constitution. Howard Walthall, who heads the State Constitutional Law Project at Samford's Cumberland Law School, will direct. Advisers include Susan Hamill, a University of Alabama Law School professor; Bruce Ely, a lawyer with Bradley, Arant, Rose & White; and James White, of Porter, White & Co.

   At 1 p.m., members of the public will have a chance to offer their thoughts to the commission.

   After the commission completes its deliberations, it will recommend to the governor and Legislature the best way to approach constitution reform. Its recommendation will be based on input from Alabama citizens and best-practices research on how other states have handled issues such as taxation, home rule and individual rights.

   Citizens who would like to voice their opinion about the constitution can do so today and Monday in Auburn at the Haley Center, Room 2352. For more information, call ACCR at 334-834-5495 or e-mail accr@bellsouth.net.

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Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 34
Montgomery, Alabama 36101-0034


E-mail: accr@constitutionalreform.org
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