Fourteen statewide amendments will appear on the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election ballot. Below are the amendments as they will read on the ballot with a brief explanation of each amendment. The Alabama Retail Association encourages its members to Vote “Yes” on Amendments 8 and 14. The explanations of the other 12 amendments are provided as information only.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER ONE (1)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to establish procedures to ensure that no more than three of the members of the Auburn University Board of Trustees shall have terms that expire in the same calendar year and to add two additional at-large members to the board to enhance diversity on the board. (Proposed by Act No. 2015-217)
This amendment would add two members, elected at-large, to the Auburn University Board of Trustees and ensure that no more than three board members’ terms expire in any one calendar year.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER TWO (2)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit any monies from the State Parks Fund, the Parks Revolving Fund, or any fund receiving revenues currently deposited in the State Parks Fund or the Parks Revolving Fund, and any monies currently designated pursuant to statute for the use of the state parks system from being transferred for another purpose other than the support, upkeep, and maintenance of the state parks system.
Notwithstanding, in the event that guest revenues to the State Parks Revolving Fund exceed the threshold of $50 million (as annually adjusted based on increases in the consumer price index) in a fiscal year, the sales and use and cigarette tax revenue distributed to benefit the State Parks System shall be reduced in the following fiscal year. The amount of the reduction shall correspond to the amount of guest revenue to the State Parks Revolving Fund exceeding the threshold. The amount of tax revenue not distributed to benefit the State Parks System shall be distributed to the General Fund.
Proposing an amendment to Amendment 617 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to allow the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources the option to provide for the operation and management, by non-state entities, of hotels, golf courses, and restaurants at any applicable state parks in Alabama. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-145)
This proposal would prohibit reallocating state park funds for other uses and allow the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to contract with non-state entities for the operation and maintenance of land and facilities that are part of the state park system.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER THREE (3)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to revise the procedure for adoption of local constitutional amendments to provide that a proposed constitutional amendment the Legislature determines without a dissenting vote applies to only one county or a political subdivision within one or more counties shall be adopted as a valid part of the constitution by a favorable vote of a majority of the qualified electors of the affected county or the political subdivision and county or counties in which the political subdivision is located, who vote on the amendment. (Proposed by Act No. 2015-44)
This proposed amendment creates a new procedure for deciding how local constitutional amendments get on the ballot and whether a local amendment is voted on locally or statewide. It also gives local voters the last say on approval of local amendments.
For a local constitutional amendment to be placed on ballots only in the affected jurisdictions:
- a three-fifths majority (60 percent) of both chambers of the Alabama Legislature would have to approve the amendment;
- and then the Legislature must unanimously agree that the amendment only applies to that one area.
If a single legislator in either chamber objects to putting the amendment on local ballots only, it would be placed on the statewide ballot.
A significant change from current procedure is that a local amendment approved statewide must also pass in the affected local jurisdiction for the amendment to go into effect. If the amendment is defeated statewide, the local vote does not change the outcome.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER FOUR (4)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize each county commission in the state to establish, subject to certain limitations, certain programs related to the administration of the affairs of the county. (Proposed by Act No. 2015-220)
This was designed to grant more authority to county commissions to carry out administrative duties, such as community, transportation and emergency assistance programs. Currently, county commissions have limited powers to create new programs to oversee the affairs of their respective jurisdictions. Any administrative powers given to county commissions must be directly declared by local law.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER FIVE (5)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to repeal and restate the provisions of Article III of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901 relating to separation of powers to modernize the language without making any substantive change, effective January 1, 2017. (Proposed by Act No. 2015-200)
This would modernize (reword and reorganize) the sections of the Alabama Constitution that address the Alabama government’s separation of powers, without changing the substance of those powers.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER SIX (6)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to become operative January 1, 2017, to repeal and replace Article VII, Impeachments. (Proposed by Act No. 2015-199)
This proposal would require a two-thirds supermajority vote in the Alabama Senate for conviction and impeachment of a state official. The constitution does not currently specify a voting requirement for impeachment.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER SEVEN (7)
Relating to Etowah County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that the employees of the Office of Sheriff of Etowah County, except for the chief deputy, chief of detention, chief of administration, chief of investigation, director of communications, and food service manager, shall be under the authority of the of the Personnel Board of the Office of the Sheriff of Etowah County. (Proposed by Act No. 2015-97)
This proposal would place most employees of the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office under the authority of that office’s personnel board. It must be voted on statewide because one senator voted against it.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER EIGHT (8)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to declare that it is the public policy of Alabama that the right of persons to work may not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor union or labor organization; to prohibit an agreement to deny the right to work, or place conditions on prospective employment, on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor union or labor organization; to prohibit an employer from requiring its employees to abstain from union membership as a condition of employment; and to provide that an employer may not require a person, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, to pay dues, fees, or other charges of any kind to any labor union or labor organization. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-86)
Alabama Retail Association Recommends:
Vote “Yes” on Amendment 8
Alabama is a right-to-work state. Amendment 8 puts the weight of the Alabama Constitution behind the state’s right-to-work law. Right-to-work laws create a “right to work” for an employee regardless of whether or not that employee joins a union. These laws guarantee that no employee can be forced to join, or not join, a union, or be forced to pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment.
Pass or fail, the right to work in Alabama will remain the same. A “Yes” vote means any future changes to the state’s right-to-work status will require a vote of the people to change the Constitution, rather than a vote of the Alabama Legislature.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER NINE (9)
Relating to Pickens County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person who is not over the age of 75 at the time of qualifying for election or at the time of his or her appointment may be elected or appointed to the office of Judge of Probate of Pickens County. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-120)
This proposal would increase the maximum age allowed for candidates for the position of Judge of Probate in Pickens County from 70 to 75 years of age. It must be voted on statewide because one senator voted against it.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER TEN (10)
Relating to Calhoun County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that any territory located in the county would be subject only to the police jurisdiction and planning jurisdiction of a municipality located wholly or partially in the county. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-144)
Under this proposal, any territory in Calhoun County would only be subject to the police and planning jurisdictions of municipalities within Calhoun County. Currently, municipal police jurisdictions are allowed to extend across county lines.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER ELEVEN (11)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to permit cities and counties, notwithstanding any existing constitutional restrictions, to utilize tax increment district revenues collected within a Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone and other moneys to incentivize the establishment and improve various types of manufacturing facilities located or to be located in such Zone, and to validate and confirm the Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone Act, Act No. 2013-51. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-267)
This would allow local governments to sell property – potentially below fair market value – to create a Tax Increment Financing Zone (TIF) if an industry will invest at least $100 million on a site larger than 250 contiguous acres. There are 91 potential industrial sites across the state that could possibly benefit. Any incentives used to secure the industry will be paid by revenues generated from increased property values within the zone, above and beyond what is presently generated, so that the industry pays for its own incentives over time, without sacrificing current tax revenues generated for roads, schools and public safety.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER TWELVE (12)
Relating to municipalities in Baldwin County; proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Legislature by general or local law to provide for any municipalities in the county to incorporate a toll road and bridge authority as a public corporation in the municipality for the construction and operation of toll roads and bridges in the municipality and to authorize the authority to issue revenue bonds to finance the projects. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-274)
Amendment 12 would make it possible to create a toll authority to oversee toll roads and bridges, and permit them to issue bonds to fund major road projects in Baldwin County, such as the Beach Express from I-10 north to I-65 or the Intracoastal bridge to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER THIRTEEN (13)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to repeal any existing age restriction on the appointment, election, or service of an appointed or elected official, with the exception of persons elected or appointed to a judicial office, and to prohibit the Legislature from enacting any law imposing a maximum age limitation on the appointment, election, or service of any appointed or elected official. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-429)
This would ban the state from putting an upper age limit on any public office outside the judicial system and allow university trustees to serve past 70. Three state universities – Alabama, Auburn and Alabama State – have 70-year limits on appointees. Jacksonville State University allows trustees who turn 75 during their term to complete their term and those who turn 70 after their terms to serve as a trustee emeritus.
PROPOSED STATEWIDE AMENDMENT NUMBER FOURTEEN (14)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to amend Amendment 448 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 71.01 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to ratify, approve, validate, and confirm the application of any budget isolation resolution relating to a bill proposing a local law adopted by the Legislature before November 8, 2016, that conformed to the rules of either body of the Legislature at the time it was adopted. (Proposed by Act No. 2016-430)
Alabama Retail Association Recommends:
Vote “Yes” on Amendment 14
A “yes” vote protects local laws passed by the Legislature prior to Nov. 8, 2016. Without an affirmative vote on this amendment, more than 700 local measures could be challenged and invalidated by the courts, including many affecting Alabama retailers, such as Sunday alcohol sales and draft beer. This amendment corrects a procedural issue with how local laws were previously approved.