Sunday, February 25, 2024

March 5th Amendment

 by Prince Cleveland

Back when I was younger, I was a slightly uninformed voter.

Not about candidates, I always knew who I would vote for. But a lot of times I was uninformed about proposed amendments to the Alabama Constitution. I would read the legal jargon on the fly in the voting booth, hoping I understood clearly enough to make the wisest decision. If I wasn’t confident in my understanding, a no vote would be my default.

After family and friends asked for my opinion on the amendments, I decided the time had come to break the cycle and educate myself in the same way I would educate myself on candidates I would vote for.

So, every election I make a point to have a better understanding of what I’m voting for… and against.

On March 5th, Alabamians will vote for party nominees for office and an amendment to the Alabama Constitution that will change the way the Alabama Legislature considers certain legislation it will vote on.

The Alabama House of Representatives and Senate’s single constitutional duty is to pass the state budgets, the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund. The legislature also passes numerous bills that are not budget related and of major public interest… usually.

Currently, the legislature cannot consider bills until the budgets are passed and sent to the governor, unless 3/5 of the legislature allows consideration of those bills. In essence, those non-budget related bills must clear a threshold of 60% just to bring legislation to the floor for debate and final passage.

Some legislators have said that those votes rarely fail, and non-budget related legislation is considered after such votes of 3/5 of the legislature.

A YES vote on March 5th will allow for local bills and local proposed constitutional amendments to be considered by the legislature, even if the state budgets have not been passed. Other non-local legislation would still require a 3/5 vote of the legislature to be considered before the budgets are passed.

A NO vote would maintain the status quo. All bills would still require a 3/5 vote in each house of the legislature to be considered before the state budgets are passed.

It seems benign enough to warrant a yes vote. If you are unsure, the default path I used to take could be an option, but I hope I have provided you with enough information to make a wise decision for yourself.

See you at the polls!