A Joint Resolution to Let the People Vote on calling a Constitution Convention to rewrite the 1901 Alabama Constitution, has been introduced by Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton in the House of Representatives and by Senator Ted Little in the Alabama Senate. Going with a resolution rather than a bill is a new approach. It will give the people the right to decide whether a constitution would be called. The resolution provides three opportunities for the people to vote:
• June, 2010 – Voters would vote on the call for a constitution convention during the gubernatorial state primary.
• November, 2010 – Voters would elect delegates during the general election.
• November, 2012 – Voters would vote on the convention’s proposals during the presidential election.
Specific restrictions on lobbyists are included in the resolution. Delegates would be prohibited from receiving a thing of value, including in-kind, related to their duties as a delegate to the constitution convention. Lobbyists would have to 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 proposals. The following are key provisions:
• If a Joint Resolution is passed in this 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.
• 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.
• The compensation for delegates to the convention will be equal to the amount that is paid in compensation and monthly expenses to the members of the legislature.
• Three potential votes, the call for a convention, delegate election, and ratification vote will happen on scheduled statewide election dates without any additional costs to the Alabama taxpayers.
• Convention officers would be elected from the elected delegates to the convention.
While this resolution will face special interest opposition, making passage difficult, it may have a chance for passage. The resolution has more co-sponsors this time than on previous occasions. It’s hard to argue against a new Constitution and even harder to oppose allowing the people of Alabama to vote.
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