Alabama Citizens’ Commission
on Constitutional Reform
releases final report

CONTACT: Kathryn Bowden
January 17, 2003
Phone: 334.834.5495

Corts Releases Citizens’ Commission Report
on Constitutional Reform

   ACCR Chairman Thomas E. Corts today released the final report of the Alabama Citizens’ Commission on Constitutional Reform and presented it to Governor-Elect Bob Riley and members of the Alabama Legislature. The independent Citizens’ Commission, chaired by Secretary of State Jim Bennett, has been considering changes to Alabama’s antiquated 1901 constitution in a series of meetings held around the state over the last year.

   “Jim Bennett and the diverse group of Alabamians on the Citizens’ Commission have done an outstanding job of studying and recommending reforms for our outdated constitution,” said Corts. “Their report is an invaluable resource for serious proponents of reform. ACCR has always maintained that substantive constitutional reform must address the issues of local democracy, debt and taxation, education, government organization and economic development. The commission’s work on these areas provides a solid foundation for future reform efforts.”

   In a letter presenting the report to Governor-Elect Riley, Corts said, “while ACCR has not adopted a formal position on each item within the independent Commission’s report, we strongly urge you to consider these recommendations in pursuing constitutional reform.”

Among the reforms offered for consideration by the Commission are:
• Granting counties, cities and towns the necessary authority to decide local matters of governance without requiring prior approval of the State Legislature

• Requiring that a majority of the voters affected at the local level approve proposed local taxes when delegating the general authority to local governing bodies to impose taxes

• Strengthening the governor's veto powers, including item vetoes in budget bills, and requiring more votes for legislative override

• Addressing Alabama’s immoral and unwieldy tax structure

• Requiring the governor and lieutenant governor run as a team, much like the president and vice-president of the U.S.

• Granting legislative and executive branches the power, unfettered by the Alabama Constitution, to promote economic development

Corts added, “For too long we have languished under a state charter that keeps us from adequately addressing the needs of our state, and we urge Governor-Elect Riley and all our elected officials to work to make reform a reality. Until we comprehensively reform our constitution, Alabama will never achieve its potential.”

Corts sent copies of the Commission’s findings to Gov. Elect Riley, Lt. Governor-Elect Lucy Baxley, constitutional officers and members of the state legislature. The report is also available on ACCR’s website at www.constitutionalreform.org.

Click here for the complete report of the Alabama Citizens' Commission on Constitutional Reform (PDF File)

   The members of the Alabama Citizens’ Commission on Constitutional Reform received some well-deserved praise from Alabama’s next governor at their last meeting. Secretary of State Jim Bennett shared a letter from Governor-elect Bob Riley with the Commission. In the letter, Riley conveyed his “sincere thanks for the hard work they have contributed.” He also stated that the work “will be invaluable to my administration and its efforts in revising our state constitution.”

Click here for the complete text of Gov.-elect Riley's letter to the Commission
PDF File)

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Click below to view recent news articles on the Commission’s work:

Constitutional panel hands off to governor
  The Mobile Register, January 20, 2003
The edge of possibility
  The Huntsville Times, January 19, 2003
‘A solid foundation’
  The Birmingham News, January 19, 2003
Constitutional reform advocates release recommendations
  The Huntsville Times, January 17, 2003
A crowded bandwagon
  The Birmingham News, December 8, 2002
Bennett:'03 best time for reform
  The Birmingham News, December 10, 2002
Residents express concerns over state Constitution

  Opelika-Auburn News, December 8, 2002

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Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
P. O. Box 10746
Birmingham, AL 35202-0746

E-mail: accr@constitutionalreform.org
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