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Call for a convention of elected citizens to reform the constitution
| Legislation to watch | About the legislation | LWVAL's position | Progress of the legislation | LWVAL action |

Legislation to watch in 2006

HB109 - Sponsored by Rep. Demetrius C. Newton and Rep. Thomas L. Jackson 

SB52 - now Substitute 82071-2 - Sponsored by Sen. T. D. "Ted" Little and Sen. H. E. "Hap" Myers

About the legislation

Bill Synopsis: "The current state constitution was ratified in 1901 and requires submitting the question of whether to call a constitutional convention to revise the constitution to the qualified electors of the state.
     This bill would call for an election to submit the question of whether to call a constitutional convention to the qualified electors of the state. If the majority vote in favor of holding a constitutional convention, it would provide for the election of delegates to the convention, provide for the holding of the convention, and would provide for an election to submit the proposed constitution, once prepared by the convention, to the voters for ratification."

LWVAL's Position

As part of it's Constitutional Reform Position, the LWVAL states,

"The League of Women Voters of Alabama supports a convention of citizens for the purpose of rewriting the state constitution."

Read the League's full position statement on Constitutional Reform

LWVAL commends Rep. Newton and Rep.  Jackson for introducing HB109 and Sen. Little and Sen.  Myers for introducing SB52 in the 2006 Alabama Legislative Session.

Progress of the Legislation

HB109 and SB52 were introduced in the legislature (first reading) on 1/10/06. 


HB109 was referred to the House Committee on Constitution and Elections (House C & E). The committee held a public hearing on the legislation on Wed., 1/25/06 and heard testimony from both opponents and proponents for over three hours.

House C & E Committee failed to favorably report HB109 out of that committee on 2/15/06. The vote was a 7 - 7 tie. Voting for favorable report:  Rep. Bandy, Rep. DeMarco, Rep. Melton, Rep. McLaughlin, Rep. Moore, Rep. Schmitz, and Rep. Hinshaw (Chair). Voting against favorable report were:  Rep. Albritton, Rep. Davis, Rep. Faust, Rep. Hammon, Rep. Hurst, Rep. Mitchell, and Rep. Wood.

There was a possibility that HB109 could be brought before the House C & E Committee for further consideration if one of the legislators so moves. However, the bill was not placed on the committee's agenda again after its defeat on 2/15/06.


SB52 was referred to the Senate committee on Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Elections (Senate C & E) on 1/10/06. 

Senate C&E held a Public Hearing on SB52 on 2/14/06. The Committee did not vote on the bill that day.

On 2/21/06, Senate C&E considered SB52. Several amendments were offered. One lowered the minimum age of a delegate from 21 to 18. A second amendment removed Section I, “the findings” of the legislature regarding the present constitution. These 12 paragraphs were seen as a political statement rather than fundamental to the legislation. The amendment was passed, but another amendment was passed that restored the last 3 paragraphs. These in essence find that: Alabama's voters are “intelligent, insightful, wise…” etc. enough to decide the content of their constitution, the constitution is in urgent need of reexamination and revision by this process, and the new constitution should be of/by/for the people and “invoking the favor and the guidance of Almighty God.” The restorative amendment passed with only one opposing vote. Objection was raised to limitation of days for the convention and the $100 limit on delegate campaign contributions. Concern for the low delegate campaign contribution limit was based on the concern that this might deter the average person/less affluent from running. There will be further amendments and debate on the floor of the Senate regarding these issues. The substitute bill also included the provision that any recommendation by a Convention must be approved by the people. (This is already provided for by an amendment to the current constitution, but was added to this bill for assurity.) With these modifications, SB52 Substitute 82071-2 was passed out with a favorable report unanimously, 10-0. SB52 Substitute 82071-2 has not been placed on the Senate calendar as of 3/8/06.

SB52 Substitute 82071-2 officially died on April 6, 2006, the 28th legislative day, when the Senate voted to indefinietly postponed further consideration of the bill.

LWVAL Action

On Wed., Jan. 25, LWVAL submitted this statement into the record of the House Constitution and Elections Committee. The statement expresses the support of LWVAL for a constitutional convention of citizens to re-write the 1901 Alabama constitution.

Also, on 1/25/06, League members from around the state joined approximately 350 other Alabama citizens to demonstrate their support for a constitutional convention of citizens. This "Let the People Vote" rally
was held on the Capitol steps following the public hearing held by the House C & E Committee. The rally was sponsored by AL Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR) of which the LWVAL is a supporting member. On that occasion, the ACCR presented to legislators the signatures of over 65,000 Alabama citizens who signed the following petition statement:

"We, the undersigned residents of Alabama, petition the elected officials of this great state to take the action necessary to call for a convention of elected citizens for the purpose of presenting a new constitution to the voters of Alabama as soon as possible."

Media coverage of both the public hearing and the support rally was substantial. Here are some of the news articles published on 1/26/06: 

On 2/9/06, a Call to Action was issued in anticipation of the Senate C & E Committee's public hearing on SB52 and the vote on HB109 in the House C & E Committee. Read the Call to Action. (The call is now expired.)

LWVAL President Becky Sylvester came to give public testimony in favor of SB52 at the public hearing held 2/14/06 by the Senate C & E Committee. Although she was signed to address the committee, the scheduled time of adjournment (noon) had passed before the League could present the testimony. Speakers signed a list to be heard and were called to the podium alternating between proponents and opponents. However, speakers were not limited to a certain time, and the hearing went beyond the scheduled adjournment time. Not all speakers were heard. The League's testimony was submitted to the committee clerk for inclusion in the record. 

SB52 Substitute 82071-2 passed the Senate C&E Committee by a 10-0 vote on 2/21/06! (See "Progress of the Legislation above for details.) The League then advocated for a place on the Senate Special Order Calendar. That is controlled by the Senate Rules Committee chaired by Sen. Jim Preuitt. If placed on the Special Order Calendar, SB52 would have higher priority for consideration by the full Senate. 

League legislative liaisons continued to lobby legislative leaders throughout the 2006 legislative general session on this issue. However, the House C&E committee could not be persuaded to re-consider HB109 after its committee defeat on 2/15/06. SB52 Substitute 82071-2 officially died on 4/6/06, the 28th legislative day, when the Senate voted to indefinietly postponed further consideration of the bill.


READ SB52 Substitute 82071-2


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AL Citizens for Constitutional Reform

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