Actions taken by ACCR and the Legislature in 2007

ACCR is planning its strategy for 2007 and focusing on new legislation this year. Lenora Pate, Chair of ACCR, highlighted the successes of this past Legislative Session when she said in a recent interview with the Anniston Star, that the theme of Let The People Vote was "constantly in the forefront of the electorate in candidate encounters, political forums, print media editorials and candidate questionnaires." Noting that some candidates who opposed letting the people vote on a constitution convention were defeated, Pate added, "Alabamians don't trust....politicians who refuse to trust them with the vote on a constitution convention."

In her interview, Pate also said, "The issue of trust is so fundamental that people easily understand that our Constitution creates a system that does not trust citizens to govern themselves. By denying citizens the right to govern on purely local issues, the Constitution creates a system of corruption where lobbyists, not citizens, control Montgomery"
"I am inspired," she went on, "by all of the citizen volunteers, local chapters, petitions with over 70,000 signatures, endorsements by the Alabama Bar and local bar associations, civic clubs, Coalition of not-for-profits, businesses, and faith based organizations calling for a new Alabama constitution."

Describing the recent Legislative Session, Pate said, "the Legislature was never able to vote a constitution convention primarily because of certain special interest groups and certain members of the legislative leadership. There were many heroes, however, in the last session who sponsored and co-sponsored ..(bills calling for a convention.) "However," she added, " the powerful Senate Rules committee refused to place (SB52) ....to a vote on the floor." [Note: those heroes named by Pate are listed further down on this page.)

• Alabama Legislative Session Update and where do we go from here?
April 18, 2006

A success story: Over the past few months, supporters of a constitutional convention have called and met with legislators and asked them to Let The People Vote for a constitutional convention; bringing that effort to levels higher than was ever expected by the legislators, the press and the political pundits around the state!. Their calls, time and trips to Montgomery, meant SB 52 and HB 109 almost passed this year!

How it all happened:
There were many significant events this Legislative Session: the rousing rally on the Capitol steps in January, the 67,000 petition signatures presented to the legislators, the unfortunate tie vote that defeated HB 109 in the House Constitution and Elections Committee and the successful unanimous vote that supported SB 52 in the Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Election Committee. But the last stumbling block was moving SB 52 out of the Rules Committee to the Senate Floor for consideration.

During March and particularly the last three weeks of the Session, the Chair and members of the Senate Rules Committee were the focus of many supporters' calls, faxes and personal meetings with senators. The Rules Committee and its Chair were also the focus of newspapers throughout this state. However, those efforts did not move the Bill to the Special Order Calendar that determines when bills can come before the Senate for discussion and vote. According to reports, a majority of the Rules Committee members supported moving the Bill to the Special Order Calendar, but until the Chairman supports that, it does not happen. The Senate Rules Committee Chairman is Jim Preuitt of Talladega. Yet Senators Ted Little, Rodger Smitherman, Roger Bedford and Steve French did step forward on the Senate Floor to ask that SB 52 be considered, out of order, (meaning it should be considered even though it was not on the Calendar of bills to be heard.). This failed because there was objection from some senators and according to the Senate rules, if there is one objection, a bill cannot be considered out of the Calendar order.

Where we go from here depends on all of us:
From now until November, during this election campaign season, we must keep this effort, in front of the candidates and the people. Please join us at rallies and meetings, ask questions from the audience, call candidates in their district, tell neighbors, friends and relatives to talk to friends and legislators about the need for a constitutional convention. Contact the chair-person of an ACCR chapter in your region to see how you can become more involved. Maybe you would like to start an ACCR chapter in your area.

Let us hear from you. Supporters' ideas and recommendations are so important. Please give us your suggestions, let us know what you are hearing when people talk about holding a constitutional convention, keep us posted on events where information about the need for a new constitution could be handed out and tell us about responses from candidates you have contacted.

And thank the heroes, the true statesmen and women who supported this effort to bring a constitutional constitution to Alabama. Those heroes are:

First and foremost, sponsors of SB 52, Senators Ted Little of Auburn and Hap Myers of Mobile, and sponsors of HB 109, Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton of Birmingham and Thomas E. Jackson of Thomasville.

And Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee members who voted in favor of SB 52
Chair, Wendell Mitchell of Luvern
Roger Bedford of Russellville
W. H. "Pat" Lindsey of Butler
Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham
Zeb Little of Cullman
Steve French of Birmingham
Vivian Figures of Mobile
Tommy Ed Roberts of Hartselle
Ted Little of Auburn
Gary Tanner of Mobile

And
Senators Bedford, French, Little and Smitherman who stood up in the Senate and asked that SB 52 be placed on the floor despite the fact that it was not on the Calendar

And House Constitution and Elections Committee members who voted in favor of HB 109
Chair, Randy Hinshaw of Huntsville
Jeff McLaughlin of Guntersville
George Bandy of Opelika
Paul DeMarco of Homewood
Bryant Melton of Tuscaloosa
Mary Moore of Birmingham
Sue Schmitz of Tony (Madison)

Get involved. Contact Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR) at their website:
www.constitutionalreform.org or call 205-540-7501

• Substitute Bill for SB 52 Passes Senate Committee
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Election Committee passed a substitute bill for SB 52 that calls for a constitutional convention. The substitute passed unanimously 10-0. The Bill now goes to the Senate Rules Committee for scheduling on the floor.

Attending and voting "yes" were: Wendell Mitchell, Pat Lindsey, Roger Bedford, Ted Little, Gary Tanner, Rodger Smitherman, Steve French, Zeb Little, Tommy Roberts and Vivian Figures. Curt Lee was not present and Hank Sanders came in too late to vote.

The Substitute SB52 proposed by Senator Ted Little, accommodated some of the concerns expressed by Senators French and Bedford at the Committee's Public Hearing.

The Substitute SB52:
1.) Removes all but the last three Findings in Section I of the original SB52
2.) Strengthens the Ballot question to require that the people would vote on any recommendation made by the Convention. (This was already required by Amendment 714 passed in 2002.)
3.) Changes the age requirement for the delegate to18 years of age rather 21 years of age as currently required for Representatives.

Following are the members of the Senate Rules Committee who should have been able to decide when the Substitute SB52 would come before the total Senate: (Editor's Note: But as of the end of the Legislative Session, they were prevented from voting on it because Chair, Senator Jim Preuitt, would not put the bill on the Special Order Calendar.)

Senate Rules Committee
Jim Preuitt (D) Chair District 11 Farmer/ auto dealer
H 256-362-5253 Talladega
S.H. Rm 729-B 334-242-7898

Pat Lindsey (D) Deputy Chair District 22 Attorney
O. 251-459-2478
H 251-459-3508 Butler, Washington Co
S.H. Rm. 721 334-242-7843

Roger Bedford (D) Vice Chair District 6 Attorney
O. 256-332-2880
H 334-256-332-7709 Russelville
S.H. Rm 730B 334-242-7862

Lowell Barron (D) District 8 Construction
H 256-638-1982 Fyffe, Dekalb Co
S.H. Rm 726-B 334-242-7858

Jack Biddle (R) District 17 Real Estate Broker, Builder
H 205-631-4591
O 205-945-6551 Gardendale
S.H. Rm. 722B 334-242-7846

Tom Butler (D) District 2 Pharmacist, Health Underwriter
O 256-837-8374 Madison
S.H. Rm 733-C 334-242-7854

Gerald Dial (D) District 13 Business
O 256-396-5600
H 256-396-5626 Lineville
S.R. Rm 735-A 334-242-7882

Larry Means (D) District 10 Sales manager , McCartney Const.
O 256-547-6386
H 256-538-2014 Gadsden
S.H. Rm 729_A 334-242-7857

Hap Myers (R) District 34 V.P. Malcolm Pirmie Engineers
O 251-471-6549
O 251-342-5199 Mobile
S.H. Rm 735-B 334-242-7886

Tommy Ed Roberts ( D) District 3 Retired
O 256-773-2854
H 256-773-2854 Hartselle
S.H. Rm 534-C 334-242-7874

Hank Sanders (D) District 23 Attorney
O 334-875-9264 H 334-875-1395 Selma
S.H. Rm 730-A 334-242-7860

Roger Smitherman (D) District 18 Attorney
O 205-322-0012 H 205-322-3768 Birmingham
S.H. Rm 732-A 334-242-7870

Zeb Little (D) District 4 Attorney, Majority Leader
O 205-934-2693 H 256-734-6348 Cullman
S.H. Rm 736-A 334-242-7855

Jabo Waggoner, Jr (R) District 16 VP Healthsouth Corp
O 2O5-969-7524 H205-822-7443 Birmingham
S.H. Rm 7 37-C 334-242-7892

• Update on the Public Hearing on Senate Bill 52.
More than 70 persons over-flowed the Public Hearing room of the Alabama State House on Tuesday, February 14th, to tell the Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee what they thought about SB52 that calls for a constitutional convention. Committee Chair, Wendell Mitchell alternated those who spoke for the Bill and those who spoke against it. Many wanted to speak, but the two-hour time slot ended before even half who wanted to speak, had a chance. Supporters of the Bill outnumbered opponents by more than 2 to 1. The petitions, containing more than 65,000 signatures, were presented to the Senate Committee as was done at the House Committee Public Hearing. Senator Mitchell said the Commitee would probably vote on the Bill next week (week of February 21-23). Begin calling your Senators to vote in favor of the substitute SB52 and thank the members of the Committee who voted unanimously to pass substitute SB52. (Names listed below.)

Senate Constitution , Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee

Chair Wendell Mitchell, ( D) Distict 30 Attorney
S.H. 733-A; 334-242-7883
Luvern (O) 334-335-3449

Roger Bedford, (D) District 6 Attorney
S.H. 730-B 334-242-7862
Russelville (O) 256-332-2880
(H) 256-332-7709

W. H. Pat Lindsey (D) District 22 Attorney
S.H. 721 334-242-7843
Butler (O) 251 459-2478
(H) 251-459-3508

Roger Smitherman (D) District 18 Attorney
S.H. 732-A 334-242-7870
Birmingham (O) 205-322-0012
(H) 205-322-3768

Zeb Little (D) District 4 Attorney
S.H. Rm 736-A 334-242-7855 Majority Floor Leader
Cullman (O) 256-734-0456
(H) 256-734-6348

Steve French (R) District 15 Financial Consultants
S.H. 737-D 334-242-7851
Birmingham (O) 205-871-5900
(H) 205 871-3881

Curt Lee (R) District 5 Attorney
S. H. 737-A / 334-242-7891
Jasper (O) 205-387-7575
(H) 205-302-0831

Hank Sanders (D) District 23 attorney
S.H. 730-A 334-242-7860
Selma (O) 334-242-7860
(H) 334-875-1395

Vivian Figures (D) District 33 Widow
S.H. 732-B / 332-242-7871
Mobile (O) 251-208-5480
(H) 251-28-5480

Tommy Ed Roberts (D) District 3 Retired
S.H. 729-C 334 242-7874
Hartselle ( O) 256-773-2854
(H) 256-773-2854

Ted Little (D) District 27 Attorney
S.H. Rm 740 334-242-7865
Auburn (O) 334-887-3472
(H) 334-887-6552

Gary Tanner (D) District 35 Assistant to Transporation Director, ALDOT
S.H 733-B 334-242-7894
Mobile (O) 251-653-8000
(H) 251-661-4741

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