Need help figuring out Alabama’s amendments? Here’s the rundown

Vote 1804596 1920

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Jas Orr

There’s a lot on the ballot Nov. 8, and alongside the races for seats or positions are 10 statewide amendments and a constitutional overhaul. Here’s a look at how that’s appearing on the ballot and what it means in plain English.

Constitution of Alabama of 2022

“Proposing adoption of the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, which is a recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, prepared in accordance with Amendment 1951, arranging the constitution in proper articles, parts, and sections, removing racist language, deleting duplicated and repealed provisions, consolidating provisions regarding economic development, arranging all local amendments by county of application, and making no other changes. (Proposed by Act 2022-111)”

This constitution is not new, but rather a rearranged and edited version of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.

A “Yes” vote for this means you’re voting for an overhaul of the 1901 constitution, one that will remove racist language, get rid of anything that’s been repealed or is listed more than once, organize statewide amendments and rearrange local amendments so they’re broken down by county. 

A “No” vote means you want to keep the current constitution.

Statewide Amendment 1

“Proposing an amendment to Section 16 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 16 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to create Aniah’s Law, to provide that an individual is entitled to reasonable bail prior to conviction, unless charged with capital murder, murder, kidnapping in the first degree, sexual torture, domestic violence in the first degree, human trafficking in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, arson in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, terrorism when the specified offense is a Class A felony other than murder, and aggravated child abuse of a child under the age of six. (Proposed by Act 2021-201)”

A “Yes” vote means you’re voting for Aniah’s Law, which denies bail for anyone charged with capital murder, murder, first-degree kidnapping, sexual torture, first-degree domestic violence, first-degree human trafficking, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, first-degree robbery, some terrorism charges or aggravated abuse of a child younger than 6.

Aniah’s Law is named for Aniah Blanchard, who was kidnapped and later killed by a man who was out of jail on bond after being accused of multiple violent crimes including kidnapping. This amendment was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate.

A “No” vote means you do not approve of enacting Aniah’s Law.

Statewide Amendment 2

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the state, a county, or a municipality to grant federal award funds or any other source of funding designated for broadband infrastructure by state law to public or private entities for providing or expanding broadband infrastructure. (Proposed by Act 2022-117)”

A “Yes” vote means you approve of allowing grant money from the federal government be distributed to public or private companies so they can expand broadband in an area.

A “No” vote means you do not approve of handing out federal grant money for broadband expansion.

This amendment specifically refers to infrastructure as it relates to broadband internet, which is high-speed internet with fixed upload and download speeds. This amendment was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate.

Statewide Amendment 3

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to require the Governor to provide notice to the Attorney General and to the victim’s family prior to granting a reprieve or commutation to a person sentenced to death, and to void the reprieve or commutation if the Governor fails to provide notice. (Proposed by Act 2022-256)”

A “Yes” vote means if someone is sentenced to death, the governor cannot remove the death penalty of a convict before notifying the state attorney general and the family of the victim in the crime. This removal could be a reprieve, or temporary delay, of the death penalty or reduction of punishment. If the governor does not make a meaningful attempt to do this, then the removal will not go forward.

A “No” vote keeps the state’s current system, meaning the governor will not have to notify the attorney general or the family of a victim before altering the penalty.

Statewide Amendment 4

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended; to provide that the implementation date for any bill enacted by the Legislature in a calendar year in which a general election is to be held and relating to the conduct of the general election shall be at least six months before then general election. (Proposed by Act 2021-284)”

A “Yes” vote means bills going into effect during an election year must do so at least six months before the election. This bill seeks to prevent any recently enacted bills to affect an election.

A “No” vote means bills can go into effect at any time within an election year.

This is the most contentious amendment on the ballot, with it passing 75-24 in the House and 25-4 in the Senate. 

Statewide Amendment 5

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to delete a provision giving the probate court of each county general jurisdiction over orphans’ business. (Proposed by Act 2021-202)”

A “Yes” vote on this amendment removes the phrase “orphans’ business” from the constitution. It does not change which entities handle adoptions or guardianships.

A “No” vote keeps the phrase in the constitution.

This amendment was unanimously passed by the House and Senate.

Statewide Amendment 6

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, each municipality authorized under Amendment No. 8 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing Section 216.01 of the Recompiled Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to levy and collect the ad valorem tax pursuant to Amendment No. 8 for the purpose of paying bonds and the interest thereon, and may also levy and collect such ad valorem tax and utilize such funds for capital improvements on a pay-as-you-go basis at a rate not exceeding the rate then lawfully permitted for the municipality to directly pay the costs of public capital improvements, as well as to pay the principal and interest on bonds, warrants, or other securities issued to finance or refinance the costs of the improvements; and the ratify, validate, and confirm the levy and collection of such tax levied and collected for any of these purposes prior to the ratification of this amendment. (Proposed by Act 2021-327)”

A “Yes” vote means cities and towns can use money collected via special property taxes can use that money to pay directly for construction projects instead of taking out loans.

A “No” vote means keeping the law the same as it is currently.

This amendment was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate.

Statewide Amendment 7

“Proposing an amendment to revise Amendment 772 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to specify that all counties and municipalities may exercise the authority and powers granted by Amendment 772 to provide for economic and industrial development; to permit notice for Amendment 772 projects to be published in any newspaper in circulation in the county or municipality; and to ratify all actions and agreements of any county or municipality done under Amendment 772 unless subject to pending judicial proceedings on the date of adoption of this amendment. (Proposed by Act 2022-286)”

A “Yes” vote means you’re voting for an expansion of local governments’ power over moves like selling public property, issuing bonds or leasing property to private entities.

A “No” vote means the current law stands.

This amendment was unanimously agreed upon by both the House and Senate. 

Statewide Amendment 8

“Relating to Shelby County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of 1901, to bring certain privately owned sewer systems that use public rights-of-way of public roads under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission under certain conditions. (Proposed by Act 2021-199)”

A “Yes” vote allows the Public Service Commission to regulate privately owned sewer systems and plants in Shelby County and determine sewer rates.

A “No” vote means privately owned sewer systems and plants in Shelby County can continue determining their own rates and avoid regulation by the Public Service Commission.

Statewide Amendment 9

“Relating to Jefferson County and Tuscaloosa County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to bring certain privately owned sewer systems that use public rights-of-way of public roads in the city limits of Lake View under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission, beginning January 1, 2023 and ending December 21, 2027. (Proposed by Act 2022-228)”

A “Yes” vote allows the Public Service Commission to regulate certain privately owned sewer systems and plants in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties — specifically relating to Lake View. Read more about Lake View’s sewer issues right here.

A “No” vote allows privately owned sewer systems and plants in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties to continue setting their own rates and avoid regulation by the Public Service Commission.

Statewide Amendment 10

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Code Commissioner, contingent upon the ratification of an official Constitution of Alabama of 2022, to renumber and place constitutional amendments ratified before or on the same day as the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, based on a logical sequence and the particular subject or topic of the amendment, and to provide for the transfer of existing annotations to any section of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to the section as it is numbered or renumbered in the Constitution of Alabama of 2022. (Proposed by Act 2022-177)”

A “Yes” vote means if voters approve the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, the previous nine amendments will apply to that new constitution.

A “No” vote means the previous nine amendments would not apply to the Constitution of Alabama of 2022.

This amendment was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate.

Need more information about the Nov. 8 election? Check out our guide right here.

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