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Alabama constitution

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Alabama constitution

The Constitution of the State of Alabama is the basic governing document of the U.S. state of Alabama. It was adopted in 1901 and is the sixth constitution that the state has had.

At 340,136 words, the document is 12 times longer than the average state constitution, 40 times longer than the U.S. Constitution, and is the longest still-operative constitution anywhere in the world.[1] (The English translation of the Constitution of India, the longest national constitution, is about 117,369 words long, a third of the length.)

About 90 percent of the document's length, as of 2012, comes from its 856 judge). This gives Alabama a large number of constitutional officers.

The Preamble runs:

We the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama.

History

Alabama has had 6 constitutions to date: 1819 (Converting [1]

General overview

The Alabama Constitution, in common with all State constitutions, defines the standard tripartite government. Executive power is vested in the Governor of Alabama, legislative power in the Alabama State Legislature (bicameral, composed of the Alabama House of Representatives and Alabama Senate), and judicial in the Judiciary of Alabama. Direct, partisan, secret, free elections are provided for filling all branches.

Notable features

The extreme length of the current constitution is both because of and the cause of heavy centralization of power in the state government, leaving very little authority to local units. Only seven counties--Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa--have any form of home rule. The other counties must lobby the state legislature--and ipso facto uninvolved parts of the state--to pass even the simplest local laws.

The constitution addresses many issues that are dealt with by statute in most other states. The most notable issue is [2]

Discrimination

The document has been heavily criticized for discriminatory elements, many of which have been made moot by amendments to the federal constitution or United States Supreme Court decisions.

The President of the ).

Originally the Constitution outlawed Amendment 667.

The constitution still requires Nearly all organizations opposing the repeal of the segregation measure pointed to a provision stating that the state did not provide a right to a state financed education. Groups opposing the repeal of this amendment claimed that repeal would lead to court decisions requiring the state to raise taxes.

Amendment 579 was substituted, which contained no reference to gender.

New Jersey recently removed a similarly offensively worded phrase from its constitution), men who interracially married and those convicted of "crime against nature" (homosexuality).

Size and local relevance

The document has been amended to address many diverse topics, such as:

  • Limestone County, all of which are almost or exactly the same)
  • Amendment 393 to expand it to "other general health purposes" so long as these purposes do not take more than 50% of the collected money.
  • Amendment 449)
  • Promotion of Amendment 766).
  • Dead farm animals (Limestone County by the County Commission)
  • Jefferson County).
  • Amendment 520 by the County Commission), see also the above entry for Dead farm animals in Limestone county
  • Amendment 439)
  • Jefferson County)

The Legislature has also been forced to amend amendments that often concerned similarly trivial matters (See other sections for more examples):

  • Amendment 18)
  • Promotion of Amendment 191)
  • Special taxation for public Amendment 195)
  • Taxation for "Furtherance of Education" in Jefferson County (Amendments Amendment 175)
  • Amendment 238)
  • Amendment 239)
  • Use of Amendment 93)
  • Mosquito control taxes (See above)
  • The State 581 were made directly to the article and not previous amendments.
  • School taxes in Huntsville (Amendment 218)
  • Amendment 432)
  • The Amendment 465)
  • Constitutional amendments that deal with one county (Amendment 425
  • The Amendment 334)
  • Corporation taxation (Amendment 212)
  • Fire/Amendment 551)
  • Calhoun County school district taxes (291)
  • More fire protection taxes, this time in DeKalb County (Amendment 637)
  • 507)
  • Some Amendment 538)
  • Even more fire protection taxes, now in Amendment 649)
  • Section 97 prohibits deceased officials from receiving a salary.

The paper has also been falsely amended at least once (Amendment 26A. The reason for this unusual nomenclature is unknown.

Outdated provisions

The constitution includes many provisions that are either wholly or partly archaic in their wording or functions, or unenforceable by federal laws and court rulings. Efforts to remove or amend these have so far proved unsuccessful. Examples include the following:

  • dueling" (this is not unique to the Alabama Constitution; other State constitutions have similar provisions).
  • annexing foreign territory.
  • Section 191 deals with "the evils arising from the use of intoxicating liquors at all elections."
  • Section 244 deals with granting of free railroad tickets to elected officials.
  • Section 245 prohibits railroads from misleading customers as to their rates.

Reform movement

There is a growing movement for

There are a growing number of advocates who agree on the need to reform the Alabama Constitution, yet they disagree on matters including the way to go about reworking the document. Some advocate for a constitutional convention to rewrite the document, including many leaders within ACCR. Other leaders, including former Governor Bob Riley and Speaker Mike Hubbard, desire to see the Constitution rewritten through an article-by-article approach. Bills to call for a constitutional convention have appeared in the Alabama Legislature yet have not been brought to a vote.

See also

  • The Constitution of India, the world's longest national constitution
  • The California Constitution, also known for its length (the second-longest in the United States and the third-longest in the world) and its constantly changing nature (due to its amendment provisions)
  • The Texas Constitution, also known for its length and lack of flexibility

References

External links

  • Text of the Constitution
    • An Overview of Alabama's Six Constitutions
  • Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
    • It's a Thick Book

Template:Constitutions of the United States

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