In addition to candidates for federal and local offices, voters in the general election Nov. 3 will be faced with the decision to adopt several statewide and local amendments. Of the six statewide amendments, only four are applicable to Mobile and Baldwin counties.
STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 1: Proposed in a 2019 bill sponsored by State Sen. Del Marsh, if passed, Statewide Amendment 1 provides that “only” a citizen of the United States has the right to vote. The existing language specifies “every” citizen of the United States has a right to vote. Chalked up primarily as political semantics, the change has no legal effect on any citizen’s right to vote.
STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 2: The result of another bill that passed the Legislature last year, this amendment seeks to make several substantive changes to Alabama’s Unified Judicial System. In the Administrative Office of the Courts, administrative duties are assigned to a director of courts, who is appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Citing a high turnover rate and little continuity between appointees, the amendment would remove the right to appoint the director from the chief justice and award it to the entire Supreme Court, after three nominees are forwarded by a commission. However, if passed, court administrators would be appointed to 10-year terms. The amendment also seeks to add two members to the existing nine-member Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC), which investigates claims of misconduct by judges. Further, it would exempt judges on the higher courts from impeachment clauses and instead subject them to the JIC’s disciplinary protocols.
STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 3: Another amendment pertinent to the judiciary, Statewide Amendment 3 seeks to extend the terms appointed judges accept before they must run for reelection. Currently, judicial vacancies created by the death, resignation, retirement or removal from office of sitting judges are filled by an appointment of the governor. This amendment extends the time of service for an appointed judge from the general election after one year of service to the general election after two years of service.
STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 4: Passage of this amendment would allow the Legislature to “recompile” the Alabama Constitution when it meets in 2022, to remove racist language, remove outdated or redundant language, consolidate amendments related to economic development and reorganize local amendments so they are grouped together by the county in which they are applied. If approved, the recompiled constitution would have to be ratified by voters.
STATEWIDE AMENDMENTS 5 and 6: Pertaining only to Franklin and Lauderdale counties, these amendments provide “that a person is not liable for using deadly physical force in self-defense or in the defense of another person on the premises of a church under certain conditions.”
MOBILE COUNTY: A special election at the end of the ballot reauthorizes Mobile County’s Pay As You Go program, which would provide $58 million for transportation projects.
BALDWIN COUNTY: Four local amendments are on the ballot in Baldwin County, two of which seek to create landmark districts, one to authorize a toll authority to obtain funding for the Baldwin Beach Express Extension between Interstates 10 and 65, and one to allow the judge of probate to act as a Circuit Court judge in equity cases. The landmark districts would be created in Barnwell and Rosinton, and would restrict surrounding cities — namely Fairhope, Loxley and Robertsdale — from legislatively annexing unincorporated areas without the property owners’ consent. If voters approve the toll authority, tolling would be restricted to the 25-mile length of the proposed Baldwin Beach Express Extension, and would not be applicable on any other road in the county.
Additional information about these amendments is embedded with this article on lagniappemobile.com.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access. During the month of December, give (or get) a one year subscription with TWO months FREE.