And there have been those who haven’t.
About the only thing the two sides in this controversy agreed on was that the racist language in the original document is an embarrassment and should be removed, although some argue that to do so would be editing our past without making significant changes.
This year, the Legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that would allow voters to amend that Constitution to remove the embarrassment. The debate on that will come later.
More significant, this year the Legislature passed a resolution that sets up a Constitutional Revision Commission to rewrite the Constitution, article by article, on a schedule that would have the job completed by 2014.
The plan, pushed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, is a pragmatic approach to a situation mired in controversy. Most observers agree that it may be possible to revise much of the document. But it is widely acknowledged that the special interests that wrote the tax provisions and amendments that protected their power and property would block any revision that threatens what they have worked so hard to secure.
So the tax provisions will not be on the table.
But everything else is.
The 16-member commission, which includes the governor, legislative leaders and their appointees, is supposed to “reflect the racial, gender, geographic, urban/rural and economic diversity of the state.” It is also to be selected so that no special interests will dominate the group.
Once in place, the commission will revise the Constitution, article by article. This will be sent to the Legislature and then, finally, to the people for their approval.
Naturally, some will complain that this process is overly dependent on lawmakers, who will be reluctant to give up the power they hold over the way government is run.
Others will argue that there is too little popular input in the process and claim that this is simply a way to defuse the issue while avoiding a constitutional convention.
However, for the first time in the modern era, Alabama has a real possibility for constitutional reform. It is a step in the right direction. If this commission does nothing more that rewrite the section on home rule and reduce the power that Montgomery has over local government, it will have done this state a service.