Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, President Pro-tem of the Senate, pushed a resolution through the Legislature that will set up a commission of 16 people that could suggest changes to Alabama’s constitution through the Legislature with relative ease. It’s pretty well agreed that the 1901 Constitution is too long, too cumbersome and needs to be updated in some manner. Sen. Marsh is ready to bring about some sort of reform. Under the Senator’s proposal, which was put on the fast track to passage, the commission of state officials and their appointees will recommend, over a period of three years, piece-by-piece changes to much of the constitution. The Legislature could accept or reject each. Of course, any change proposed by lawmakers would take effect only if also approved by state voters in a referendum.
The Commission members under Sen. Marsh’s resolution will be: Gov. Bentley and three people selected by the Governor; Sen. Marsh and three people named by him; Speaker Mike Hubbard and three people picked by him; and Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood; Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne; Sen. Ben Brooks, R-Mobile; and Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville. These four legislators chair the House and Senate judiciary and constitution and elections committees.
Alabama’s constitution, which has over 1,000 amendments, is divided into 18 parts or articles. Sen. Marsh’s commission will have a schedule for considering changes to the Constitution over a period of three years. The articles to be considered in years 2012, 2013 and 2014 are:
While I have great respect for Sen. Marsh, and commend him for taking the initiative to get things moving, I believe it will be a huge mistake to have the commission members come solely from GOP ranks. The commission should reflect a cross section of our state’s population. To have a commission with such an important function made up solely of Republications would be grossly unfair, and I believe would cause unnecessary problems. Hopefully, some of the persons who have worked very hard on constitutional reform over the past several years will be named to the commission.
Source: Birmingham News
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