Plan presented to reform Alabama Constitution


Alabama State Senator Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) has offered a resolution that could lead to reforming Alabama’s antiquated state Constitution.

He will propose a 16-member commission that will recommend changes to the Constitution on an article-by-article schedule that first looks at private corporations and banking, to be followed in 2012 by legislative powers and presentation.

Then, in 2013 the commission will look at the executive department and education, and impeachment and smaller issues in 2014. Sen. Marsh, who as president pro tem is the most powerful member of the state Senate, has taken tax reform off the table for the moment. “The reason is the tax code puts a big block on constitutional reform. What I want to do is get all the other articles rewritten, and then come back to the tax issue,” he said.

That’s not a bad approach, and Sen. Marsh is correct in that tax reform will be a major stumbling block to any other reform measures. His plan would have the commission’s suggestions passed into law by the state Legislature and then face the voters for approval. We have no problem with that approach either. We strongly believe that any constitution reform measure should be approved by the people of the state. Our caution arises from the makeup of the commission Marsh proposes. His plan gives appointment power to the governor for three of the members, with the others coming from an assortment of legislative leaders, all but one of whom is a Republican.

This commission should be broad-based. It should include people of good will from all political persuasions who can make a case for their ideas on how best to change the document that governs the lives of all Alabamians.  Constitutional reform is badly needed in Alabama. Many of Alabama’s problems spring from that bloated document written to protect special interests instead of providing a means of good government for the people of Alabama.


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