Rep. Paul DeMarco, who is from Homewood in Jefferson County, was successful in securing passage of the first two rewritten articles of the 1901 Constitution of Alabama by the Legislature. Unfortunately, it took six years to get this done. Rep. DeMarco believes this is “the most effective way to get constitutional reform.” He is convinced the article by article approach is best.
There has been very little progress for decades in getting a new constitution to replace the constricting, racist, heavily-amended 1901 model. At any rate, there’s good reason to believe the Legislature will approve rewritten articles more effectively, thanks to the work of the Constitution Revision Commission. Last year, Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh sponsored the resolution creating the commission and the Legislature approved it. Sen. Marsh wants to make revising the constitution a priority after years with lots of talk, but little action.
Clearly, much of the state’s unjust tax system, unfairly burdens poor and middle-class families and hamstrings governments. It’s embedded in the constitution. At some point, the Legislature must deal with the taxation article. But until then, the article-by-article approach will have to suffice. If voters approve Rep. DeMarco’s first two articles in November, we will get a good idea of how successful the effort ultimately will be.
I understand the next goal is to rewrite the legislative article, which will include addressing whether the Legislature should give some of its power to local governments in favor of what is known as “home rule.” For a revised constitution to be worth the effort, it must give local governments more ability to run their own affairs and not have to rely on the Legislature. That will be the test of whether an article-by-article approach is truly effective.
Source: Birmingham News
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