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2 years ago

An Alabama voters’ quick guide to state amendments on the Nov. ballot

A woman prepares to vote in 2006. (Photo: Nathaniel Shepard)
A woman prepares to vote in 2006. (Photo: Nathaniel Shepard)

When Alabama voters head to the polls on November 8th, they won’t just be electing a president; they will approve or reject 14 Constitutional amendments. If you need help navigating issues on the ballot, check out our guide below.

Amendment 1

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 1 adds two new board members to the Auburn University Board of Trustees, and also ensures that the terms of no more than three members’ terms will expire at the same time.

Amendment 2

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 2 restricts the state legislature from dipping into funds generated by state parks. It would constitutionally require that monies be spent on maintaining those parks, unless revenues top $50 million annually.

Amendment 3

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 3 institutes a new procedure to determine whether a constitutional amendment should be voted on by the entire state or by the affected community only.

Amendment 4

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 4 would expand local power by giving counties the ability to create new policies that apply to public transportation, road safety, emergency assistance, and personnel. It does not give county officials any new power or compensation. This amendment also prohibits new taxes, fees or programs from being instituted that would hinder a landowner’s legal rights to use their property, with the exception of legislative intervention.

Amendment 5

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 5 cleans up and updates outdated terminology in Article III of the state constitution.

Amendment 6

What it says: “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to become operative January 1, 2017, to repeal and replace Article VII, Impeachments.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 6 would require a two-thirds vote of the Alabama Senate to impeach a public official, and subjects members of the Board of Education to impeachment. It does not change the reasons why an elected official can be impeached.

Amendment 7 (Local)

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 7 would only apply to Etowah County, and make certain county employees subject to the authority of the Personnel Board of the Office of the Sheriff of Etowah County.

Amendment 8

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 8 would solidify the state’s “right-to-work” status into the constitution, making it difficult in the future for unions to force membership on Alabama workers as a condition of employment.

Amendment 9 (Local)

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 9 applies to Pickens County only. It would allow a Probate Judge to serve until the age of 75 (the current age is 70).

Amendment 10 (Local)

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 10 applies to Calhoun County only. If passed, it would prevent any city or town not in or partially in Calhoun from exercising jurisdiction over any area of the county.

Amendment 11

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 11 allows 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.

Amendment 12 (Local)

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 12 allows the legislature to create a toll and bridge authority for a city or town in Baldwin County. The authority would have the power to finance its projects and accept funding from state or local governments.

Amendment 13

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Amendment 13 eliminates maximum age restrictions that currently apply to the election or appointment of non-judicial elected officials.

Amendment 14

What it says: “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.”

In a nutshell: Currently, legal questions over “budget isolation resolution” votes threaten a wide array of local laws. Amendment 14 seeks to protect the validity of over 500 local laws that have passed between 1984 and 2016, as long as they were approved using proper legislative rules at the time of their passage.

45 mins ago

Another $95,000 funneled into Alabama PAC from out-of-state Planned Parenthood group

According to a mandatory financial disclosure filed at approximately noon on Thursday, Planned Parenthood on Tuesday pumped an additional $95,000 into its efforts to influence Alabama’s November 6 general election.

Planned Parenthood, through Planned Parenthood Southeast’s “Alabama for Healthy Families” PAC, is opposing a pro-life constitutional amendment and attempting to drive up Democratic turnout on Election Day. Along with Planned Parenthood, Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, the ACLU, the Feminist Majority Foundation and URGE are opposing the amendment – Amendment Two.

The $95,000 contribution to the Alabama PAC was made from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, located in Vermont. The PAC now reports having $915,000 cash on hand to spend in under three weeks leading up to the election. Previous contributions have come in from multiple entities each in California and New York City.

Combined with a $200,000 cash infusion directly from George Soros, Alabama Democrats will be hoping that more than $1 million in last minute, out-of-state spending will buoy their candidates, especially in down ballot races that could take advantage of Democrats voting the straight ticket option while the average Alabamian checks off individual candidates he or she knows while ignoring the lesser known races.

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You can expect more out-of-state money to continue pouring in, whether it is contributions from the likes of Soros himself or dark money from groups like Planned Parenthood.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

TVA begins Browns Ferry outage for Unit 1 modifications

Tennessee Valley Authority has begun a scheduled outage at its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 1 in Alabama to prepare it to generate additional electricity.

The utility said in a news release it will install 332 new nuclear fuel assemblies and perform a final round of modifications.

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Unit 1 will be the second of three Browns Ferry units to generate an additional 155 megawatts of electricity.

Unit 3 began operating at its new power rating in July. Final modifications will be installed on Unit 2 next spring.

The utility said the additional 465 megawatts of electricity is enough to power an additional 280,000 homes.

The release said TVA plans to invest $475 million on the project.

TVA powers 9 million customers in parts of seven Southern states.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

Roby Dem opponent Tabitha Isner tells NY Times Russian hacking claim was used as a ploy for campaign publicity

Back during the summer, Democratic congressional hopeful Tabitha Isner attracted national headlines when she claimed Russians had attempted to hack her campaign’s website.

“I was pretty surprised by that because I had bought enough bandwidth, enough hosting power, that it shouldn’t be an issue,” Isner said to Business Insider back in August. “I knew something was up and I had my web administrator go look into it.”

She went on to say the hacking attempt seemed partisan and that it appeared there was a lack of concern when hacks benefitted Republicans. As it turns out, some of that concern may have been a ploy for attention.

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In a profile of Isner for The New York Times Magazine by Ruth Graham, published on Wednesday, Isner acknowledged they saw the alleged hacking attempt as “an opportunity for publicity,” and said her campaign manager Megan Skipper implemented a strategy to alert the media because “why not.”

“A few days earlier, her web-hosting company alerted her to a spike in traffic on her campaign site,” Graham wrote for the New York Times Magazine. “Her webmaster found nearly 1,500 failed attempts to break in to the site, almost all of them from I.P. addresses in Russia. Isner and Skipper were alarmed, but they also figured the hacking was an opportunity for publicity. They emailed some local reporters, and Skipper tweeted at Rachel Maddow — why not? Only a week earlier, the Justice Department had announced indictments against 12 members of a Russian intelligence agency accused of launching a ‘sustained effort’ to hack Democrats’ computer networks.”

Their effort proved to be successful given it generated headlines from coast to coast. It raised the issue of further Russian interference in U.S. elections while it was a front-burner issue for Democrats given the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 hours ago

Byrne to propose innovative bill to fund building the border wall

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) will soon introduce the “Fifty Votes for the Wall Act,” which would use the budget reconciliation process to overcome Democratic obstruction and fund the border wall.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Byrne explained the rationale behind his proposal, which he outlined further in an op-ed published by The Hill.

“The American people elected Donald Trump on the promise of building a border wall, and we can’t let Democrats continue to block funding from this critical project,” Byrne said.

He continued, “To be clear, border security is national security. Having a secure border is absolutely necessary if we want to cut down on crime and keep potential terrorists and bad actors out of our country. With this bill, we create a process to overcome the Democrat filibuster in the Senate and provide the money necessary to build the wall and keep the American people safe.”

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While Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate, the body’s rules allow Democrats to filibuster unless 60 senators vote to invoke what is called “cloture.” Byrne’s legislation would take advantage of Senate procedure so that 50 votes would be all the Republicans need to approve the border wall and its funding.

“The extreme tactics the minority has used to block President Trump’s border wall proposal is reckless and another example of how the left is being driven further and further to the extreme,” Byrne explained in his op-ed.

He outlined that his proposed method, called budget reconciliation, by which the Senate would only need 50 votes has been used before by both parties to pass contentious legislation. Democrats used it to pass Obamacare initially, and this same maneuver got the Republicans within one vote of a “skinny-repeal” of Obamacare last year. It also allowed for the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, better known as Trump’s tax reform package.

“There is no reason the same tactic cannot be used to fully fund the president’s border wall,” Byrne advised.

The congressman from southwest Alabama wants to see the House immediately begin this process when its members return to session in November.

When it comes to the details of funding the wall, Byrne wants to see the $25 billion cost of the project offset with cuts. He is open to working with his colleagues in both the House and the Senate to determine the best areas to cut, so that the wall can receive the votes necessary in both chambers.

It is important to remember that when Republican legislators like Byrne mention building “the wall,” we are talking about “physical barriers and associated detection technology, roads, and lighting along the southern border.” So, the wall has become a catch-all phrase for a comprehensive border security package that would also address underground tunnels and other nuances.

Byrne concluded, “Not only would my bill fully fund the wall, but it would take the wall building program out of the appropriations process and prevent Democrats from bottling up funding in future years. Regardless of the outcome of the midterm elections, let’s not miss our chance to crack down on illegal immigration. Let’s use our majorities in both houses to get the wall built and keep the American people safe.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

AL-3 Dem congressional hopeful Mallory Hagan: I won’t support Pelosi for House Speaker if elected

In a Q & A interview that appeared in Wednesday’s edition of the Montgomery Advertiser, third congressional district Democratic nominee Mallory Hagan said if she wins her election next month, she would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker of the House.

The possibility of Hagan, a former Miss America, defeating incumbent Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) in the November 6 contest is considered to be a long-shot in the heavily Republican east Alabama congressional district. It is a district that President Donald Trump won by 33 points in the 2016 presidential election, and one Republicans have held since January 1997.

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When asked by the Advertiser if she would support Pelosi, Hagan said no.

“No,” she said. “Sixteen years is too long for Mike Rogers and too long for Nancy Pelosi.”

On the Republican side of the ticket, Rogers was asked a similar question about who would support to replace the outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). He indicated he would support current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.