On November 6, Alabamians will vote on four proposed statewide constitutional amendments. Although the first two amendments will likely receive the most attention (API’s analyses can be found on our website), amendments three and four deserve notice as well. They are, in fact, changes to the longest known constitution in the world.

We’ll start with Proposed Amendment Three, which addresses the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees.

Currently, the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System – which governs UAB and UAH in addition to the Tuscaloosa campus – is composed of three members from the seventh congressional district (which includes Tuscaloosa), two members from each of the other six congressional districts, the governor and the state superintendent of education.

If approved, this amendment would require that the Board continue to be made up of members of congressional districts as drawn on January 1, 2018. This means that, in the case that Alabama gains or, more likely, loses a congressional seat in 2020, the makeup of the board of trustees would not be affected nor thrown into disarray.

Additional stipulations include the removal of the state superintendent of education from automatic membership on the board and of the requirement that board members retire after their 70th birthday.

It is worth mentioning that the bill allowing this University of Alabama-specific amendment passed unanimously in both the State House and Senate.

Amendment Four, in contrast, will have a significantly wider impact if approved.

This amendment addresses something Alabamians have been hearing about for a while now–special elections. It is important to note on the front end, however, that it does not address special elections for the U.S. Congress like that of 2017. Instead, it impacts vacancies in the state legislature.

If accepted, legislative vacancies that occur on or after October 1 of the third year of a quadrennium (in other words, seats that become open only months before the final session of the legislature’s four-year term) would remain vacant until the next general election.

Currently, the governor is required to schedule a special election when state legislative vacancies occur. These elections cost the state money, create voter fatigue, and according to Senator Glover, the amendment’s sponsor, are “just bad government.”

In an interview with API, Senator Glover described one case where, thanks to a late special election, a legislator was sworn in on the last day of session. Cases like these, where relatively powerless legislators are added to the state payroll, will not occur if the amendment is approved.

The main purpose, according to Glover, is to “save some money and confusion.” He estimates that, if this language had been on the books earlier, the state would’ve saved “just under a million dollars” in 2018 alone. For example, this amendment would prohibit what will, come November, be four separate elections for Alabama’s 26th Senate seat in less than a year.

Additionally, the amendment received unanimous support when it passed the Senate and overwhelming support in the House earlier this year.

Although these two amendments are not as polarizing as amendments one and two, both are attempts to make the state better, and they should not be ignored.

This op-ed was originally published by the Alabama Daily News, Yellowhammer News, the Anniston Star, the St. Clair Times, the Brewton Standard, and Alabama Today.


MORE ON Good Governance

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson speak at 30th Anniversary Mobile Celebration

The Alabama Policy Institute hosted its 30th Anniversary Mobile Celebration on April 4th at the Hangar at the USS Alabama. Hundreds attended the event featuring several celebrated public servants including Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, and Former State Senator Phil Williams. In his candid remarks, Former Attorney General Sessions praised the […]

2018 Attorney General Candidate Questionnaire: Attorney General Steve Marshall Responses

Please see below for Attorney General Steve Marshall’s responses to the 2018 Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer News Attorney General Candidate Questionnaire. Submitted Friday, May 18 at 7:56 am View responses in PDF format here.  2018 Attorney General Questionnaire Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer News ACTING PHILOSOPHY Interpreting the Law Question: Attorneys general are in the […]

2018 Lieutenant Governor Candidate Questionnaire: Dr. Will Boyd Responses

Please see below for Dr. Will Boyd’s responses to the 2018 Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer News Lieutenant Governor Candidate Questionnaire. Submitted Tuesday, May 15 at 4:57 pm View responses in PDF format here. 2018 Lieutenant Governor Questionnaire Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer News POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY Question: What is your political philosophy and, if elected, […]

MORE ON The Forum

HUNTSVILLE RADIO: Rachel Bryars and WVNN’s Jeff Poor talk Common Core and its possible repeal

Alabama Policy Institute Senior Fellow Rachel Blackmon Bryars appeared on Huntsville’s Newstalk 770AM/92.5FM with Jeff Poor Wednesday to discuss a controversial bill that would repeal Common Core in Alabama. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) announced the bill in a Facebook and Twitter video late last week, taking some education stakeholders by surprise. Is a […]

HUNTSVILLE RADIO: J. Pepper Bryars explains how Alabama can defend religious freedom

API Senior Fellow J. Pepper Bryars recently discussed how Alabama’s local and state governments should defend our religious freedom on the Fred Holland Show, 105.3 FM WTKI in Huntsville. Bryars noted how the Freedom From Religion Foundation has implicitly or directly threatened to sue more than 40 Alabama school systems, local governments, and elected officials […]

MORE FROM Parker Snider

What is abortion, really?

Abortion is not simply a medical procedure; it has a much larger, far less palatable, agenda. Abortion sees the life of an infant, the memories they are bound to make if privileged with birth, and tells them, “No.”

API urges “Yes” vote on Amendment Two on evening news

Parker Snider, Director of Policy Analysis for the Alabama Policy Institute, recently urged voters to vote “Yes” on Amendment Two on Alabama local news, including WBRC Birmingham, WSFA Montgomery, WAFF Huntsville, and WTVM Columbus. Watch the stories here and here or at the links below. Story by WBRC’s Alan Collins: https://www.wbrc.com/2018/10/16/amendment-rights-unborn-v-right-choose/ Story by Raycom Media’s […]

How to prepare for Russia’s October surprise

Russia is in the business of mind control. They’re not doing it through sinister headgear, satellite interference, or dream invasion like in Inception, though. Instead, Russia seeks to control the minds of Americans through something we all have and spend arguably too much time on: social media. This isn’t news to many of us. For years […]