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Amendment 4 on Nov. 3 ballot can streamline Alabama constitution

MADISON – The ballot in the general election on Nov. 3 will include Amendment 4, which will start the process to streamline and ‘clean up’ the Alabama Constitution.

Endorsing Amendment 4, Alabama Citizens of Constitutional Reform or ACCR is a group of Alabamians who are determined to see legislative change, starting with the Alabama Constitution. (constitutionalreform.org)

Alabama’s Constitution is the longest in the world, but the proposed amendment being presented to voters in November is a first step toward streamlining the document. The current Alabama Constitution is packed full of 900 amendments and is riddled with redundancies that create a maze of words known to befuddle even legal scholars, according to Kathey Bradford, ACCR Treasurer and Madison resident.

“Alabamians are some of the most independent, authentic and opinionated people in America,” Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus at Auburn University, said. “Yet they have allowed the antiquated 1901 Constitution to transfer power to run their towns, cities and counties to 140 state legislators whose record on ethics and efficiency is less than brilliant.”

“Unfortunately, this amendment is not an opportunity to rewrite that constitution, but it will make decisions and understanding easier,” Flynt said. “It will allow removal of duplication and words that are no longer legal.”

In 2019, all members of the Alabama Legislature agreed to give Alabamians the chance to vote on an amendment for constitutional reform.

“Amendment 4 is a non-partisan issue that brings support from many sectors of Alabama: from educators, religious leaders, business leaders and members of all political parties,” Cathy Randall said. Randall is Director Emeritus of University of Alabama’s computer-based honors program.

If approved, Amendment 4 would allow the Legislative Services Agency, with assistance from Alabama Reference Services, to propose a draft to clean up and consolidate the document. This work will arrange the document in a logical structure that citizens can easily understand. The revision will remove antiquated language and duplicative provisions but will not make substantive changes to any laws.

The Legislative Services Agency is a non-partisan agency that assists the Alabama Legislature. The work will include provisions for its ultimate presentation to Alabama voters for ratification or rejection in 2022.

For more information, visit constitutionalreform.org.

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Digital version of The Madison Record – April 17, 2024

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