For years, they have been pushing and prodding the Alabama Legislature to do something about the antiquated document under which the state is governed. For years, they have been put off, told to wait and asked to be patient.
Patient they have been.
Now, it seems, that patience is paying off.
Resistance seems to be crumbling, just a bit. Thanks to the work of the legislative Constitutional Revision Committee — notice it is “revision,” not “reform” — three constitutional changes will be on the ballot in November. Voters will get to decide if they want to eliminate the unconstitutional language that is sprinkled throughout the document, as well as revise the banking and corporation articles.
Those are not controversial issues for most Alabamians, which is why they are good places to start.
Things will get more difficult, of course. In June, the Constitutional Revision Committee will meet again and begin to tackle the section dealing with the state Legislature. Expect some controversy over that.
What ACCR, along with county officials and many businessmen, hopes the committee recommends is the Legislature should give up its stranglehold on counties and allow a measure of home rule/local control to these essential units of government.
How legislators have attempted to run the counties within their districts was apparent when a group tried to take tobacco-tax money earmarked for county agencies and set up their own slush fund for their own pet projects. The plan actually passed the Legislature, which suggested that the authors were not the only legislators who approved of such shenanigans. Fortunately, Gov. Robert Bentley refused to sign the bill and it died — for now.
A constitutional revision that would prevent this sort of thing would be welcomed.
The Constitutional Revision Committee’s meetings are open to the public, but if you can’t get to Montgomery, you can visit the Alabama Law Institute website (http://www.ali.state.al.us) to get an update and read a transcript of the proceedings.