A new constitution needed
Published 6:21 pm Thursday, April 22, 2004
More and more citizens of this state agree, it's high time to overhaul our state's constitution and take a little power from Montgomery.
To that end, supporters of a new Alabama constitution are launching a petition drive across the state. They are planning to hold workshops and grow grass-roots support for a referendum on a constitutional convention.
Of course, many legislators in Montgomery would rather eat their hats than concede to a constitutional convention.
After all, power for this state is now centered in the hands of 105 representatives in the house and 35 state senators.
They exercise more control over our daily lives than nearly any other elected body.
Who would willingly give that up?
That concentration of power is potent and, at times, toxic. Lack of home rule has often prevented our counties and municipalities from deciding even the most trivial of issues like animal control, leaving it up to our Montgomery legislators to make our decisions for us.
Alabama is the only state in the south without home rule for its counties and municipalities.
Need more reasons why we need a new constitution?
Our latest constitution was penned in 1901 and contains more than 700 amendments. It is the longest known constitution in the world.
Restrictions within the current constitution prevent many forms of economic development activities around the state, while a number of those 700 plus amendments give a vast amount of economic development leeway to some counties but not others.
During these difficult economic times, every Alabama county needs the flexibility to determine its needs and course of action when it comes to economic development.
Further, speed is often of the essence when courting the sometimes fickle business interests looking for a place to relocate. Waiting for the legislature can be a damaging delay.
Counties like Escambia need the flexibility to do what they see fit to attract business and industry and we need home rule to make decisions with speed and local interests truly at heart.
Our constitution is holding Alabama back. The more we delay, the more we risk losing.