Voters to Decide On Six Constitutional Amendments

Date: October 02, 2020

The Alabama Secretary of State’s Office has posted information on the six proposed state constitutional amendments that will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot. Here’s a summary of each:

Amendment 1

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to amend Article VIII of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 177 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to provide that only a citizen of the United States has the right to vote.

Summary: The state constitution grants the right to vote to U.S. citizens who meet certain requirements. This amendment does not change those requirements.

Amendment 2

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to increase the membership of the Judicial Inquiry Commission and further provide for the appointment of the additional members; further provide for the membership of the Court of the Judiciary and further provide for the appointment of the additional members; further provide for the process of disqualifying an active judge; repeal provisions providing for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges and the removal for cause of the judges of the district and circuit courts, judges of the probate courts, and judges of certain other courts by the Supreme Court; delete the authority of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to appoint an Administrative Director Courts; provide the Supreme Court of Alabama with authority to appoint an Administrative Director of Courts; require the Legislature to establish procedures for the appointment of the Administrative Director of Courts; delete the requirement that a district court hold court in each incorporated municipality with a population of 1,000 or more where there is no municipal court; provide that the procedure for the filling of vacancies in the office of a judge may be changed by local constitutional amendment; delete certain language relating to the position of constable holding more than one state office; delete a provision providing for the temporary maintenance of the prior judicial system; repeal the office of circuit solicitor; and make certain nonsubstantive stylistic changes.

Summary: If a majority of voters approve Amendment 2, a separate bill passed by the Legislature (Act 2019-497) will become law. This act creates a process to fill vacancies in the position of Administrative Director of Courts.

Amendment 3

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a judge, other than a judge of probate, appointed to fill a vacancy would serve an initial term until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January following the next general election after the judge has completed two years in office.

Summary: This amendment changes the initial term of a judge that is appointed to fill a vacancy due to death, resignation, retirement, or removal. The current law and this proposed amendment do not apply to probate judges.

Amendment 4

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Legislature to recompile the Alabama Constitution and submit it during the 2022 Regular Session, and provide a process for its ratification by the voters of this state.

Summary: Alabama’s constitution can be changed only during a constitutional convention or when a majority of voters approve a constitutional amendment. If a majority of voters vote “yes” on Amendment 4, the Alabama Legislature, when it meets in 2022, would be allowed to draft a rearranged version of the state constitution. This draft could only (1) remove racist language, (2) remove language that is repeated or no longer applies, (3) combine language related to economic development, and (4) combine language that relates to the same county. No other changes could be made. Even if passed by the Alabama Legislature, this rearranged version would not become law until it was approved by a majority of voters.

Amendment 5

Relating to Franklin County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to 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.

Summary: Alabama’s “Stand Your Ground” law allows a person to legally use physical force against another person under certain conditions. The law does not require the person to retreat before using physical force. If a majority of voters in Alabama vote “yes” on Amendment 5, and if, in addition, a majority of voters in Franklin County vote “yes” on Amendment 5, the state constitution would contain a special “Stand Your Ground” law that applies to churches in Franklin County only.

Amendment 6

Relating to Lauderdale County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to 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.

Summary: Alabama’s “Stand Your Ground” law allows a person to legally use physical force against another person under certain conditions. The law does not require the person to retreat before using physical force. If a majority of voters in Alabama vote “yes” on Amendment 6, and if, in addition, a majority of voters in Lauderdale County vote “yes” on Amendment 6, the state constitution would contain a special “Stand Your Ground” law that applies to churches in Lauderdale County only.

Visit the Secretary of State’s website to learn more about the proposed state constitutional amendments.

 

Related Content: Small Business News | Alabama | Elections

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