Winter 2009 Edition
Published February 25, 2009
2009 League of Women Voters of Alabama

Update:  Constitutional Convention Legislation in the 2009 Session

A Joint Resolution that Lets the People Vote on calling a Constitution Convention to rewrite the 1901 Alabama  Constitution, will be introduced by Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius  Newton in the House and by Senator Ted Little in the Senate on  Tuesday February 10, 2009.

Please call your state  representative and state senator ASAP and ask them to support the Joint  Resolutions to Let the People Vote on the question of calling a Constitutional Convention. The Joint Resolutions  are the same as the bills that have been offered by the  sponsors for the past three years.

The resolutions  provide three opportunities for the people to  vote:
  • June, 2010 - Vote during the  gubernatorial state primary  on the call for a convention
  • November, 2010 – Elect delegates  during the gubernatorial  general election;
  • November, 2012 – Ratification vote  on the convention’s  proposal(s).

Key  provisions
  1. If  the  Joint Resolutions are passed in this 2009 general legislative  session, we will  have  approximately one  year until the citizens vote  on the Convention question  at the June 20, 2010,  Gubernatorial Primary.
  2. Delegate  elections in November of 2010, would elect two delegates  from each State Legislative  House District based on the  two highest vote recipients  in each House District    regardless of gender, unless the current Resolutions are  amended.
  3. Three  potential votes (call for Convention, delegate election,  and ratification vote) will  happen on  scheduled statewide election dates without any  additional costs to the  Alabama taxpayers.

Late News on CR

A Joint Resolution to Let the People Vote on calling a Constitution Convention to rewrite the 1901 Alabama Constitution, was introduced by Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton in the House of Representatives HJR 91 and by Senator Ted Little in the Alabama Senate SJR 20 on Tuesday February 10.

The Resolutions have more total co-signers than we have ever had before: counting the sponsors, there are 26 in the House and 15 in the Senate for a total of 41.

House co-sponsors for HJR 91 follow.  Democrats are: Marcel Black of Tuscumbia, Barbara Boyd of Anniston, Merika Coleman of  Midfield; Chris England of Tuscaloosa, Billy Dukes of Decatur, Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer, Ron Grantland of Hartselle, Laura Hall of Huntsville, Allen Harper of Aliceville, Earl Hillard, Jr. of Birmingham, Tammy Irons or Florence, Joseph Mitchell of Mobile, John Robinson of Scottsboro, Yusuf Salaam of Selma, Tommy Sherer of Jasper, Patricia Todd of Birmingham, Pebblin Warren of Tuskeegee, Lea Fite of Jacksonville, Ken Guin of Carbon Hill, Jeff Mc Laughlin of Guntersville, Oliver Robinson of Birmingham and Randy Hinshaw of Meridianville. Republicans are Joe Faust of Fairhope, Mac Gipson of Prattville and Mike Hill of Columbia.

After Senator Little introduced SJR 20, Senator Roger Bedford stepped to the podium and complimented Senator Little for his persistence in the effort and stated that Alabama needs a new Constitution, not to raise taxes but to move Alabama forward.

Senate co-sponsors of SJR29 follow.  Democrats are: Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham, Zeb Little of Cullman, Hinton Mitchem of Union Grove, Wendell Mitchell of Luverne, Bobby Denton of Muscle Shoals, Hank Sanders of Selma, Roger Bedford of Russellville, Bobby Singleton of Greensboro, Linda Coleman of Birmingham, Vivian Figures of Mobile, Larry Means of Attalla and Quinton Ross of Montgomery.  Republicans are Steve French of Birmingham and Del Marsh of Anniston.

Senator Lowell Barron heads up the Rules Committee in the Senate. Ken Guin heads up the Rules Committee in the House.  Both resolutions were sent to the respective Rules Committees, as expected.

The Joint Resolutions are the same as the bills that have been offered by the sponsors for the past three years. The difference is that resolutions do not require a super majority for a BIR (Budget Isolation Resolution) before they can be considered because they do not include funding.  If the resolutions are passed by the Legislature and the voters, then the Legislature would have to approve funding to carry out the convention.

The resolutions provide three opportunities for the people to vote, as noted above.

The bills also place the following restrictions on lobbyists:
Delegates are prohibited from receiving a thing of value (including in-kind) in association with their duties as a delegate to the constitution convention. Lobbyists must report expenditures by themselves or a relative for lobbying activities every two weeks beginning after the convention call vote occurs in June, 2010, and continuing through the final vote in November, 2012, on the convention proposal(s).

Other key provisions in the bills are:
  1. If the Joint Resolutions are passed in this 2009 general legislative session, ACCR will have approximately one year for education and organization, to prepare for the vote on the convention question that will occur at the June 20, 2010, Gubernatorial Primary.
  2. Delegate elections in November 2010 would elect two delegates from each State Legislative House District based on the two highest vote recipients in each House District regardless of gender (unless the current Resolutions are amended)
  3. The compensation for delegates to the convention will be equal to the amount that is paid in compensation and monthly expenses to the Alabama senators and representatives.
  4. Three potential votes (call for a convention, delegate election, and ratification vote) will happen on scheduled statewide election dates without any additional costs to the Alabama taxpayers.
  5. Convention officers must be elected from the elected delegates to the   convention.
[Editor's Note -- You can view HJR91 and SJR20 and follow their progress in the legislature by reading the LWVAL Legislative Report, updated weekly. Click here to go directly to the issue of Constitutional Reform and Constitutional Convention.]

If you as a citizen are concerned about constitutional reform, please call your state representative and state senator while they are in their home district or call them at the State House office and ask them to support the resolution to Let the People Vote on the question of calling a constitution convention. Contact information for your individual legislator can be found at www.legislature.state.al.us. Please also forward this information to your friends and family and ask them to call their legislators as well. You would not be speaking for the League, but for yourself.  

-- Nancy Ekberg
ACCR Co-coordinator

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