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Charter revision suffers setback

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — The latest effort to rewrite Alabama's 1901 Constitution took a blow Tuesday when the sponsor delayed consideration of the measure and admitted he did not have the votes to bring it up for debate.

Several supporters of the bill later said they believe the issue may be dead for the 2007 regular session of the Legislature.

House members discussed for nearly an hour a bill sponsored by Rep. Demetrius Newton,
D-Birmingham, that would have set a referendum for state voters in February to decide
if they want to call a conven-tion to rewrite the constitution that's been amended almost 800 times.

Move to delay

Just as the House was preparing to take a procedural vote required to bring a bill up for a vote, Newton said he didn't think he had enough votes and moved to delay the bill, which means it could come up again later in the session.

But several supporters of constitutional reform said they doubt the issue will be revived this session.

"I would say it would be very difficult to have the time to spend on this issue this session. I think today was the best shot," said Rep. Marcel Black, D-Tuscumbia, a longtime supporter of rewriting the 1901 document.

Newton told House members the 1901 Constitution is outdated, loaded down with unnecessary amendments and written to prevent blacks and women from being a part of state government.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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