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Friday, January 06, 2006

Little/Newton Push Constitutional Reform

State Sen Ted Little (D - Auburn) and State Rep Demetrius Newton (D - Birmingham) will introduce a constitutional reform bill when the legislature convenes next week.

No high profile Alabama politician has gotten behind such an effort as they are loathe to upset the status quo. And I know I am in the minority, but I think the public would respond well to a politician willing to embrace reform. There are legions of activists and organizations already in existence who would immediately line up behind a candidate advocating constitutional reform.

I think any of the credible gubernatorial candidates (with the possible exception of Roy Moore) could give their campaigns a boost by adopting such a platform. Baxley could use a big idea to jettison her image as being unable to take a stand. Siegelman needs a new stump speech after pushing the lottery for twenty years. Even Bob Riley could engage the issue and find a platform for a second term. While Roy Moore's constituency is probably relatively hostile to constitutional reform, if presented in the right way I think he could sell it to them. Such an issue might help Moore make the leap as a mainstream candidate as well. Even someone like Harri Anne Smith could use constitutional reform to propel her candidacy from a dark-horse to a serious contender.

Will a high profile Alabama politician be brave enough to embrace constitutional reform in 2006? Probably not. But sooner or later constitutional reform will come to Alabama. And the politicians with the courage to lead will be rewarded.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given what happended with constitutional recompilation -- which destroyed the classical structure of the constitution, sidelined the inalienable rights provisions, and actually made keeping track of the amendments more difficult -- I shudder to think of what would happen if the politicians were given the opportune to "reform" not just "recompile" the constitution.

I wouldn't mind some kind of reform myself, but only if we could keep the politicians out of it.

7:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hands off the Alabama Constitution! It protects the people from the politicians by giving us the final say on nearly every major bill that passes.

Take Amendment One, for example. Designed to be the highest tax increase in Alabama history, it was a model of bipartisanship, with the Democrat Legislature and Republican Governor Riley supporting it. Big business and big media also supported it, and all told us "our children" would suffer dire consequences unless it passed.

Despite all the professional scheming and handwringing, Amendment One went down in flames. At the ballot box, the people vetoed, by an overwhelming 68% No vote, what the politicians loved. And what the bureaucrats claimed was impossible happened: state finances did fine without new revenue.

All that saved us from the state stealing more of our money was the Alabama Constitution. Now they want to "reform" it to take away the people's veto.

Not likely. We dare defend our rights.

8:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the Riley supporters awake, yet?

Just checking.

8:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Dr. I.Q. said...

Besides constitutional reform, there is another issue that I believe would elevate any candidate’s chances to be elected, but none of them have dared even whisper about it, as far as I know. If they did, it would probably tend to cause their campaign contributions from major sources to dry up, or at least slow down drastically, because all of those who have power, and their financial backers, would be opposed to it.

However, if making Alabama the 25th state to have Initiative and Referendum [I&R] ever became a campaign issue, it could create a grassroots movement behind the candidate that pushed for it to become a reality for the voters of the state.

With the election season starting, I have been contacting candidates and potential candidates (and will continue doing so) to ask them a simple yes or no question that would put them on record as to whether they would promote I&R. So far, only a few brave souls have even responded in any fashion. A report on this is @ www.doctoriq.com/report.htm.

8:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There isn't as much interest for Initiative and Referendum in Alabama as in other states because we already possess the people's veto, which serves some of the same purposes.

8:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This bill is for a constitutional CONVENTION, which is not immune from political influence, but I find it hard to believe that the people of ALabama would give up the "ultimate veto" that we have for the sake of "reform."

The two are not mutually exclusive.

Also, since when is "home rule" a bad thing? Doesn't that mean less government?

8:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, since when is "home rule" a bad thing? Doesn't that mean less government?

"Home Rule" in Alabama means more government, not less because it adds an extra layer of government instead of replacing state government with local government.

9:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a revolutionary idea: how about some tax reform so the big, out-of-state paper companies pay the same property taxes that we poor working stiffs do?

10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous KissinJim said...

Constitutional Convention = Higher Taxes. It's that simple. Case closed.

10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Higher taxes for who, kissinjim? I'm all for closing loopholes -- the rich folks have been avoiding their fair share for too long now.

4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous KissinJim said...

Sounds like the Amendment One "You're a bad Christian" dribble all over again...

11:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kissinjim, other than simply tossing out simplisitc sound-bites, you're not really convincing. tell us your idea of fair taxes and why a new constitution would prevent that.

5:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Another anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
“There isn't as much interest for Initiative and Referendum in Alabama as in other states because we already possess the people's veto, which serves some of the same purposes”, and the next comment mentions the "ultimate veto" that we have.
This sounds like the Senator Dixon school of thought – “just try to stop what bills we can, and don’t waste time trying to pass anything of our own because we are in the minority”. Besides, how are “the people’s veto” and “the ultimate veto” defined? However they are defined, that is just playing defense when, and if, we can, and we all know what a great government that has produced.
If those measures produced good results none of us would have much to bellyache about as far as state government is concerned, would we? That might put this blog out of business.
Why would anyone be content to just dig their heels in and play defense all the time when it isn’t getting them to where they want to be? You might win the game solely with defense, but only if the powers-that-be commit turnovers of the ball, and who expects that to happen? Why not try a little offense, for a change to see what happens?
As I understand it, that is what Initiative (or Petition) & Referendum would allow a majority of the voters to do.

12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous KissinJim said...

Alabama is fine right now just the way it is. We don't need a new Constitution or any new taxes.

11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again, kissinjim, for another insightful point. You haven't responded to my last question. Let me repeat it in case you've forgotten:

kissinjim, other than simply tossing out simplisitc sound-bites, you're not really convincing. tell us your idea of fair taxes and why a new constitution would prevent that.

Response?

11:18:00 AM  

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