If you care about Constitutional Reform in Alabama, you need to contact your State Representative NOW! The following message is from Hill Carmichael, Campaign Coordinator for the Constitution Reform Education Campaign.
Wow! What an exciting couple of weeks it’s been for constitutional reform advocates! A few weeks ago, HB98 passed out of committee in the House. And yesterday – one day after the College Council for Constitutional Reform’s Road Trip for Reform – SB99 passed out of committee in the Senate. And today I have even more exciting news. HB98 has been placed on the calendar for a FULL VOTE OF THE HOUSE on Tuesday, May 1st!
Needless to say, your hard work and commitment are paying off. However, it is critical that your representative hear from you about HB98 over the next few days. YOU can make the difference by contacting your representative in their home district between now and Monday afternoon! So please call your Alabama state representative and urge him or her to do two things:
1. Vote for the BIR (the Budget Isolation Resolution that allows debate of a bill on the floor before the budget is passed)
2. Vote YES on HB98 to Let the People Vote
You can go to http://www.legislature.state.al.us/misc/zipsearch.html to get your representative’s contact information. Again, thank you for your dedication and be sure to forward this to your contacts throughout the state.
Go to the Alabama Citizens for Constitution Reform webpage to see how the 1901 Constitution holds us back. It prevents county governments from controlling local issues so that the legislature must vote to give a local government control over issues such as zoning, weed control, etc. It also results in an unfair and regressive tax structure that burdens the working poor in our state. It makes it difficult (by design) for local governments to promote economic development or invest in infrastructure. The 1901 Constitution reserves the lion’s share of government power for the state, leaving counties and municipalities to go begging to the Legislature if they want to do much of anything. This situation holds our state back economically, but there is another side to the 1901 Constitution that hurts Alabama: it was devised to disenfranchise African-American and poor white citizens. Between 1900 and 1903 175,000 African-American citizens and 40,000 white citizens lost their voting rights as a result of the 1901 Constitution. Although the most egregious provisions have been overturned or are no longer enforced, enough remains to be an embarrassment to our state.
Click “There’s more” to read the rest.
You may wonder if the author’s of the 1901 Constitution really intended to prevent poor black and white voters from participating in government and to centralize power in the hands of a few in Montgomery. Browse the proceedings of the 1901 convention and read a little of what the delegates said at the time. The following is from the Honorable John B. Knox of Calhoun County, on Day 2 of the Convention.
I submit it to the intelligent judgment of this Convention that there is no higher duty resting upon us, as citizens, and as delegates, than that which requires us to embody in the fundamental law such provisions as will enable us to protect the sanctity of the ballot in every portion of the State.
The justification for whatever manipulation of the ballot that has occurred in this State has been the menace of negro domination. …..
There is in the white man an inherited capacity for government, which is wholly wanting in the negro. Before the art of reading and writing was known, the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxon had established an orderly system of government, the basis in fact of the one under which we now live. That the negro on the other hand, is descended from a race lowest in intelligence and moral preceptitions of all the races of men.
We have come so far since 1901, but we have much further to go. Alabama still ranks among the worst in infant mortality, children living in poverty , median household income and even average lifespan. This outdated constitution is like an albatross around our necks, holding us back. Its time to cut it loose and move on, move forward and show what Alabama can do for itself.
The vote coming up on Tuesday matters. If you don’t know the name of your Representative, use the link above to find out. Same with the phone number and email address. If you think Constitutional Reform matters, lift your voice now! Wednesday will be too late to impact this vote.