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Pinky Reichert reviews the 2022 proposed constitution of Alabama following the Coosa County Republican Party’s meeting. Photo by Christa Jennings
In addition to handouts provided by guest speaker Jimmy Entrekin, a book issued by the Alabama Legislative Council of the 2022 proposed constitution of Alabama was also available for guests to peruse. Photo by Christa Jennings
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
The highlight of the Coosa County Republican Party’s meeting Monday evening was having a guest speaker review the proposed statewide amendments that will be on the ballot in November, as well as the state’s constitutional recompilation, or reorganization.
Jimmy Entrekin, legal counsel for the Alabama Legislative Service, gave a presentation complete with slides to better review what the proposed amendments are and are not, or what they will or will not do. After reviewing each of the 10 proposed amendments, he then provided an in-depth look at the proposed reorganization of the state’s lengthy constitution.
There were 26 individuals present for the meeting, including guest Lee Vanoy with Rep. Mike Rogers’ office. Elected officials in attendance for the meeting were Judge of Probate Richard Dean, Revenue Commissioner Debra Lamberth, Sheriff Michael Howell, County Commissioner Ronnie Joiner, and Board of Education Member Sharon Coffman.
Regarding Amendment 1, or Aniah’s Law, Entrekin explained that this amendment would add additional violent crimes besides capital murder for which a judge could deny bail, such as first-degree cases of murder, kidnapping, rape, and more. He stated that if the amendment passes it will remove a constitutional right to bail for these additional violent crimes.
For Amendment 2 regarding broadband funding, he explained that if the amendment passes there will be no question that governments can give grant money to private companies if those funds are designated for broadband development.
Amendment 3 pertains to governor reprieves, as the current Alabama Constitution contains no requirements for the governor to notify anyone before delaying or reducing a death sentence. If passed, this amendment would require the governor to notify the attorney general and also reasonably attempt to notify the victim’s family before postponing or reducing the death sentence.
Amendment 4 relates to election laws, and Entrekin explained that the state’s constitution currently does not contain any prohibition against the Alabama Legislature passing election laws that impact general elections during election years and even just weeks prior to those elections occurring.
If passed, this amendment would require that when the Alabama Legislature passes an election law during an election year and the law impacts how the upcoming general election is to be conducted, then the law must take effect at least six months before the general election takes place.
Regarding Amendment 5, Entrekin explained that, if passed, the proposed amendment would simply strike the outdated phrase “orphan’s business” from Amendment 364 of the state’s current constitution.
Proposed statewide Amendment 6 relates to a “pay as you go” option. Entrekin explained that the constitution currently allows for certain cities and towns to charge and collect a special property tax for the purpose of paying bonds and debt of the city or town.
He stated that this amendment would simply allow those cities and towns that are already allowed to collect that property tax to use those tax dollars to not only pay bonds and debt, but to also have the option to directly “pay as you go” for capital construction projects rather than going into debt.
Amendment 7 relates to local economic development, which Entrekin explained that currently some counties and municipalities may use public funds to buy or sell public property, lend their credit, or become indebted for economic development purposes.
If passed, Amendment 7 would give all counties and cities those same powers, regardless of whether a local constitutional amendment gives additional powers.
Proposed Amendment 8 applies only to Shelby County, and Amendment 9 applies only to the City of Lake View in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties and to unincorporated areas of Tuscaloosa County.
Entrekin explained that Amendment 10 would only apply if the 2022 Constitution Recompilation passes.
This amendment would allow the code commissioner to organize and number the amendments that pass during the general election into the body of the recompiled constitution rather than the new constitution coming with 10 new amendments from the beginning.
Additionally, the amendment, if passed, would also clarify that any judicial interpretation of existing constitutional sections would continue to apply to those same constitutional provisions, even though they would be renumbered into different sections.
Entrekin then went into an in-depth portion of his presentation to review the proposed recompilation of the Alabama Constitution to reorganize it. He explained that this would primarily reorganize all of the amendments into their proper sections of the constitution and deletes any parts that have been expressly repealed by Alabama voters.
He further explained that 98% of the proposed new constitutional document is simple reorganization, with 1% being removal of racist language, 1% deleting duplicative and repealed provisions and 0% of economical development law being consolidated or changed.
Entrekin also emphasized that recompilation is just reorganization, adding that only changes in the actual text change the law, so no laws would change as a result of the recompilation.
He explained that Alabama’s current constitution expressly states that the only things the new recompiled constitution can do are the things listed in the Alabama Constitution – specifically, “reorganizing, removing racist language, deleting duplicative and repealed provisions, consolidating economic development language, and rearranging all local amendments by county.”
Further, Entrekin stated that a safety measure is also in place so that if “by some strange accident” something else was changed then the Supreme Court would be obligated to strike it down.
For more information on the statewide constitutional amendments and the recompilation, Entrekin advised people to visit www.sos.alabama.gov and https://alison.legislature.state.al.us.
A video of Entrekin’s full presentation is also available on “The Coosa County News” Facebook page for those interested in hearing his review of the amendments.
Also during Monday’s meeting, Coosa County EMA Director Sheldon Hutcherson provided an update on the countywide ambulance. He stated that he and Commissioner Joiner went to Roanoke that day for an inspection of the ambulance and said that it should be delivered in mid-October, further stating that they are aiming for January 1 to have the ambulance staffed and in service.
Coosa County Republican Party Acting Chair Jodi McDade also reminded everyone of the weekly events to allow area residents the opportunity to meet and talk with local Republican Party candidates.
Those include “Pizza and Politics” every Thursday from 4:30 p.m. until at Twenty-Two & Crew in Rockford and “Breakfast with the Candidates” every Saturday from 8-10 a.m. at Triple R Cafe in Rockford.
The next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Coosa County Republican Party will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the E-911 building in Rockford on October 24, with refreshments being served prior to the meeting at 6 p.m.