News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Amendments not a fair way to govern state

The general election has been over for a month and the state still doesn't have a decision in Mobile County on an issue that should never have been on the ballot.

Amendment 1 applied only to Prichard, a struggling suburb to the north of the city of Mobile.

Blame the antiquated state Constitution for the long delay. If it hadn't insisted that most political power reside in Montgomery and hadn't insisted on statewide constitutional amendments on some issues that amount to minutiae, the referendum would never have taken place.

Three amendments were on the Nov. 7 ballot. One affected all citizens because of its impact on school funding. But numbers one and three were local matters for Macon and Mobile voters to settle.

No. 1 would allow Prichard to set up a free-trade zone as an inducement for companies to do business there. The statewide vote outcome was so close that it triggered an automatic recount, which is still going on.

Amendment 3 passed easily so Macon County can now restructure its school board for more efficiency. But Morgan County residents should have had no say in that matter.

State legislators have much too much control over local governments due to the antiquated 1901 Constitution and its mountain of amendments. They talk change but in reality, legislators like the status quo even if it means an issue we voted on that pertains to a city at the opposite end of the state still isn't decided.

Mobile County voters approved the free-trade zone by 12,136 votes but it failed statewide by 2,642 votes, and within the 0.5 percent that automatically triggered the recount.

It's time for a new constitution or for big changes in the shop-worn present one that so far thwarts the wishes of Mobile County voters.

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