Constitutional amendments up for vote on Nov. 6

Published 4:10 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Local legislators said they are in support of several Alabama constitutional amendments coming up for a vote Nov. 6 aimed at impacting the state’s economy, services and other areas.

During the Nov. 6 election, voters statewide will have a chance to cast their ballots for 10 constitutional amendments.

If passed, the first amendment would allow the state’s Forever Wild program, which purchases private lands for public use as state parks, wildlife management areas, trails and nature preserves, to continue receiving funding from the Alabama oil and gas trust fund for the next 20 years.

The second amendment would allow Alabama to refinance its general obligation bonds and “take advantage of the lower interest rates now available” in an effort to save the state money, said state Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster.

The third and fifth amendments only pertain to Baldwin and Mobile county residents, respectively.

The fourth amendment would remove from the state constitution “racial language added during the Jim Crow era” pertaining to school segregation and the poll tax, Ward said.

If passed, the sixth amendment would give Alabama citizens an “opt-out” of a federally mandated health care system, Ward said.

The seventh amendment would give “all Alabama employees the right to request a secret ballot vote to be held when deciding whether or not to join a union,” according to Ward.

A yes vote on the eighth amendment would tie state legislators’ salaries to the median household income in Alabama and would require a statewide vote to change any future change in legislative pay.

Ward said the ninth amendment would update “extremely outdated” language in the state constitution regarding Alabama business entities.

“From a legal perspective, it is important to make sure that Alabama’s Constitution is updated, concise and reflects the changes in business that have occurred over the last 111 years,” Ward said.

The 10th amendment would “clean up and recompile” sections of the state constitution tied to banks, and would “prohibit the state from becoming a stockholder in any bank or banking corporation,” Ward said.

State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs, said she and her Shelby County colleagues voted in favor of placing the amendments on the ballot.

“When I vote for something to be put on the ballot, I am in favor of it,” McClurkin said. “I think most of us (legislators) are in agreement.”