SYLACAUGA, Ala. – On Nov. 8, Alabama voters will have the opportunity to approve or disapprove of 14 amendments to the state’s constitution. Detailed information on each amendment is available here on the Secretary of State’s website, and, as election day approaches, we thought it important to provide a hopefully helpful summary for review and consideration.
For a complete sample Talladega County ballot, click here.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to establish procedures to ensure that no more than three of the members of the Auburn University Board of Trustees shall have terms that expire in the same calendar year and to add two additional at-large members to the board to enhance diversity on the board.
Summary: Adds two new board members to the Auburn University Board of Trustees and provides that no more than three member seats are vacant in the same year. Approval would expand the board from 14 to 16 members, including five at-large members. Because Auburn University was established through the state constitution, as was The University of Alabama, governance changes require constitutional amendments.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit any monies from the State Parks Fund, the Parks Revolving Fund, or any fund receiving revenues currently deposited in the State Parks Fund or the Parks Revolving Fund, and any monies currently designated pursuant to statute for the use of the state parks system from being transferred for another purpose other than the support, upkeep, and maintenance of the state parks system.
Notwithstanding, in the event that guest revenues to the State Parks Revolving Fund exceed the threshold of $50 million (as annually adjusted based on increases in the consumer price index) in a fiscal year, the sales and use and cigarette tax revenue distributed to benefit the State Parks System shall be reduced in the following fiscal year. The amount of the reduction shall correspond to the amount of guest revenue to the State Parks Revolving Fund exceeding the threshold. The amount of tax revenue not distributed to benefit the State Parks System shall be distributed to the General Fund.
Proposing an amendment to Amendment 617 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to allow the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources the option to provide for the operation and management, by non-state entities, of hotels, golf courses, and restaurants at any applicable state parks in Alabama.
Summary: Protects up to $50 million (inflation-adjusted) of revenue generated by state parks for use by the parks, with any excess to the state’s general fund, and prohibits the Legislature from diverting state parks monies to other programs. Also allows privatization of some park operations.
Alabama’s parks are run by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which receives no funding from the state’s General Fund and depends on revenue it generates. Working around a 2015 state budget deficit, the Legislature transferred some $3 million out of state parks funds, which initially led to layoffs and closing of five state parks. The parks won’t reach the proposed $50 million cap any time soon; next year’s number is estimated at $37.7 million.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to revise the procedure for adoption of local constitutional amendments to provide that a proposed constitutional amendment the Legislature determines without a dissenting vote applies to only one county or a political subdivision within one or more counties shall be adopted as a valid part of the constitution by a favorable vote of a majority of the qualified electors of the affected county or the political subdivision and county or counties in which the political subdivision is located, who vote on the amendment.
Summary: Provides for determining whether a future constitutional amendment should be voted on by the entire state (as is currently the case) or only by the area affected by the amendment.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize each county commission in the state to establish, subject to certain limitations, certain programs related to the administration of the affairs of the county.
Summary: Would allow county commissions to modify specific internal programs without legislative approval but prohibits certain new taxes/fees. Does not apply to Jefferson County.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to repeal and restate the provisions of Article III of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901 relating to separation of powers to modernize the language without making any substantive change, effective January 1, 2017.
Summary: Revises outdated terminology in Article III of the constitution and contains no material changes, only technical adjustments to create clarity for state law.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to become operative January 1, 2017, to repeal and replace Article VII, Impeachments.
Summary: Would change the vote to convict on impeachment from a 50% simple majority to a two-thirds super-majority of the state senate, making it more difficult to impeach a state official. Newly subjects Board of Education members to possible impeachment. Would not change the reasons for which an official can be impeached.
Relating to Etowah County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that the employees of the Office of Sheriff of Etowah County, except for the chief deputy, chief of detention, chief of administration, chief of investigation, director of communications, and food service manager, shall be under the authority of the Personnel Board of the Office of the Sheriff of Etowah County.
Summary: Applies only to Etowah County and provides that certain county employees are subject to authority of the Personnel Board of the Office of the Sheriff. Requested by the sheriff’s department to address difficulty retaining employees as, under current law, such cannot receive a pay raise unless all county employees also receive a raise.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to declare that it is the public policy of Alabama that the right of persons to work may not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor union or labor organization; to prohibit an agreement to deny the right to work, or place conditions on prospective employment, on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor union or labor organization; to prohibit an employer from requiring its employees to abstain from union membership as a condition of employment; and to provide that an employer may not require a person, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, to pay dues, fees, or other charges of any kind to any labor union or labor organization.
Summary: Secures the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union, making the state’s right-to-work status constitutional and disallowing forced membership on workers as a condition of employment. Alabama’s right-to-work law has been in effect since 1953.
Relating to Pickens County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person who is not over the age of 75 at the time of qualifying for election or at the time of his or her appointment may be elected or appointed to the office of Judge of Probate of Pickens County.
Summary: Applies only to Pickens County and would allow a Probate Judge there to serve until the age of 75 vs. the current age of 70.
Relating to Calhoun County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that any territory located in the county would be subject only to the police jurisdiction and planning jurisdiction of a municipality located wholly or partially in the county.
Summary: Applies only to Calhoun County and would prevent any city or town not in or partially in the county from exercising jurisdiction over any area of the county.
City police jurisdictions can extend three miles outside their city limits, and planning jurisdictions can extend five miles, even crossing county lines. As an example, the police jurisdiction of Lincoln, in Talladega County, extends into Calhoun County, and approval of this amendment would prohibit that.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to permit cities and counties, notwithstanding any existing constitutional restrictions, to utilize tax increment district revenues collected within a Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone and other moneys to incentivize the establishment and improve various types of manufacturing facilities located or to be located in such Zone, and to validate and confirm the Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone Act, Act No. 2013-51.
Summary: Permits cities and counties to sell government-owned land within a certain type of development zone below fair market value for the purpose of economic development.
Relating to municipalities in Baldwin County; proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Legislature by general or local law to provide for any municipalities in the county to incorporate a toll road and bridge authority as a public corporation in the municipality for the construction and operation of toll roads and bridges in the municipality and to authorize the authority to issue revenue bonds to finance the projects.
Summary: Permits the legislature to create a toll and bridge authority for a city or town in Baldwin County, with power to finance projects and accept funding from state or local governments.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to repeal any existing age restriction on the appointment, election, or service of an appointed or elected official, with the exception of persons elected or appointed to a judicial office, currently imposed by a provision of the Constitution or other law; and to prohibit the Legislature from enacting any law imposing a maximum age limitation on the appointment, election, or service of an appointed or elected official.
Summary: Eliminates maximum age restrictions that currently apply to the election or appointment of non-judicial elected officials.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to amend Amendment 448 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 71.01 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to ratify, approve, validate, and confirm the application of any budget isolation resolution relating to a bill proposing a local law adopted by the Legislature before November 8, 2016, that conformed to the rules of either body of the Legislature at the time it was adopted.
Summary: Affirms hundreds of local laws passed between 1984 and 2016, if they were approved using proper legislative rules at the time, resolving a variety of current legal questions. Prompted by a court ruling last year that could put many local laws at risk of court challenges. If not approved, defending prospective lawsuits could be costly for Alabama taxpayers.
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