How to read the amendments on Tuesday's ballot

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There will be 10 amendments on Tuesday's ballot that voters across Alabama will decide on. There will also be one referendum election item that voters who live in non-incorporated areas of Baldwin County will need to consider.

Rep. Matt Simpson, chairman of the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation, and representative of District 96 in the Alabama House of Representatives, spent some time explaining what each of the amendments means to voters in Baldwin County.

"It is vitally important that the people of Alabama be able to understand what they're voting on, especially these amendments that have a big impact on our county and our state," he said.

The following is a breakdown by Simpson of the ballot initiatives and Alabama Constitutional Amendments that will appear on Tuesday's ballot.

Constitution of Alabama of 2022

Actual Ballot Language:
- Proposing adoption of the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, which is a recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, prepared in accordance with Amendment 951, arranging the constitution in proper articles, parts, and sections, removing racist language, deleting duplicated and repealed provisions, consolidating provisions regarding economic development, arranging all local amendments by county of application, and making no other changes (Proposed by Act 2022-111)
o Yes
o No

Summary:

- Every member of the legislature agreed to this potential modification to the state constitution which will only do the following – rearrange sections to put similar subjects with one another (including economic development and local amendments), remove outdated language, and delete repealed or repeated portions and language. It will not cost anything to adopt the modified constitution.

Statewide Amendment One

Actual Ballot Language:
- Proposing an amendment to Section 16 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 16 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama 1901, as amended, to create Aniah's Law, to provide that an individual is entitled to reasonable bail prior to conviction, unless charged with capital murder, murder, kidnapping in the first degree, rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, sexual torture, domestic violence in the first degree, human trafficking in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, terrorism when the specified offense is a Class A felony other than murder, and aggravated child abuse of a child under the age of six. (Proposed by Act 2021-201)
o Yes

o No

Summary:
- A "Yes" vote here would make sure that people charged with murder, first degree kidnapping, first degree rape and sodomy, and other heinous crimes listed above could be denied getting let out of jail on bail by our judges. The bill is named after Aniah Blanchard, a young woman who was murdered several years ago by a criminal who had been let out on bail despite being charged with kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder. Several members of our Baldwin County delegation were co-sponsors of the legislation that allows for this amendment, including Rep. Shane Stringer, Rep. Alan Baker and myself.

Statewide Amendment Two

Actual Ballot Language:

- Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the state, a county, or a municipality to grant federal award funds or any other source of funding designated for broadband infrastructure by state law to public or private entities for providing or expanding broadband infrastructure. (Proposed by Act 2022-117)
o Yes
o No

Summary:
- If approved, this amendment clarifies that city and county governments, as well as the state government, can use federal and other state funding to expand access to high-speed internet for our citizens.

Statewide Amendment Three

Actual Ballot Language:
- Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to require the Governor to provide notice to the Attorney General and to the victim's family prior to granting a reprieve or commutation to a person sentenced to death, and to void the reprieve or commutation if the Governor fails to provide notice. (Proposed by Act 2022-256)
o Yes
o No

Summary:
- The Governor currently has the power to postpone a death sentence or reduce the sentence to life in prison. If passed, this amendment would require the Governor to notify both the Alabama Attorney General and the victim's family before taking an action like those.

Statewide Amendment Four

Actual Ballot Language:
- Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended; to provide that the implementation date for any bill enacted by the Legislature in a calendar year in which a general election is to be held and relating to the conduct of the general election shall be at least six months before the general election. (Proposed by Act 2021-284)

o Yes
o No

Summary:
- In short, a "Yes" vote on this amendment would mean that any bill that would have an impact on how elections are held and conducted that is passed by the Alabama Legislature during an election year must take effect six months before that election. This would give ample time for our state's election officials at the state, county and municipal levels to adequately prepare for and implement any changes that might happen because of those laws that are passed.

Statewide Amendment Five

Actual Ballot Language:
- Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to delete a provision giving the probate court of each county general jurisdiction over orphans' business.
o Yes
o No

Summary:

- A "Yes" vote here simply removes the outdated "orphans' business" from that portion of the state constitution.

Statewide Amendment Six

Actual Ballot Language:
- Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, each municipality authorized under Amendment No. 8 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing Section 216.01 of the Recompiled Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to levy and collect the ad valorem tax pursuant to Amendment No. 8 for the purpose of paying bonds and the interest thereon, and may also levy and collect such ad valorem tax and utilize such funds for capital improvements on a pay-as-you-go basis at a rate not exceeding the rate then lawfully permitted for the municipality to directly pay the costs of public capital improvements, as well as to pay the principal and interest on bonds, warrants, or other securities issued to finance or refinance the costs of the improvements; and to ratify, validate, and confirm the levy and collection of such tax levied and collected for any of these purposes prior to the ratification of this amendment. (Proposed by Act 2021-327)
o Yes

o No

Summary:
- A "Yes" vote here would allow for cities and towns that already have a special property tax can use those funds for "pay as you go" construction projects (similar to how the Baldwin County School System uses its penny sales tax revenue currently) rather than taking on public debt.

Statewide Amendment Seven

Actual Ballot Language:

- Proposing an amendment to revise Amendment 772 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to specify that all counties and municipalities may exercise the authority and powers granted by Amendment 772 to provide for economic and industrial development; to permit notice for Amendment 772 projects to be published in any newspaper in circulation in the county or municipality; and to ratify all actions and agreements of any county or municipality done under Amendment 772 unless subject to pending judicial proceedings on the date of adoption of this amendment. (Proposed by Act 2022-286)
o Yes
o No

Summary:
- A "Yes" vote here would allow for every county and municipality the ability to use public funds to lend their credit, sell public property or become indebted for the purpose of economic development. Under current Alabama law, only some counties and municipalities have that power.

Statewide Amendment Eight

Actual Ballot Language:
- Relating to Shelby County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to bring certain privately owned sewer systems that use public rights-of-way of public roads under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission under certain conditions. (Proposed by Act 2021-199)
o Yes
o No

Summary:
- This amendment only applies to Shelby County, but we all get to vote on it across the state. A "Yes" vote would allow privately owned sewer treatment plants in Shelby County to be regulated by the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Statewide Amendment Nine

Actual Ballot Language:
- Relating to Jefferson County and Tuscaloosa County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to bring certain privately owned sewer systems that use public rights-of-way of public roads in the city limits of Lake View under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission, beginning January 1, 2023, and ending December 31, 2027. (Proposed by Act 2022-288)

o Yes
o No

Summary:
- This amendment only applies to the Town of Lake View in Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties, but we all get to vote on it across the state. Similar to Amendment Eight, a "Yes" vote would mean certain privately owned sewage treatment plants in Lake View would be regulated by the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Statewide Amendment Ten

Actual Ballot Language:
- Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Code Commissioner, contingent upon the ratification of an official Constitution of Alabama of 2022, to renumber and place constitutional amendments ratified before or on the same day as the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, based on a logical sequence and the particular subject or topic of the amendment, and to provide for the transfer of existing annotations to any section of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to the section as it is numbered or renumbered in the Constitution of Alabama of 2022. (Proposed by Act 2022-177)
o Yes
o No

Summary:

- So, Amendment Ten would only take effect if the first item listed in these summaries (the Constitution Reorganization) passes. If it passes, a vote "Yes" for Amendment Ten would make sure any new amendments passed would be properly organized under the new category system.

Referendum Election

Will only be on the ballot in unincorporated areas of Baldwin County

Actual Ballot Language:
- "Should the provisions of Act No. 2005-200 (Ala. Code 11-3A-1 et seq.) apply in Baldwin County?"

o Yes
o No

Summary:
- If passed, this local referendum would allow the Baldwin County Commission the ability to enact ordinances within the unincorporated areas of the county to address various quality of life issues including weed abatement (making sure yards/properties aren't overgrown with weeds/other plant life), animal nuisance control, litter and rubbish, junkyard control, noise abatement, unsanitary sewage, and pollution creating a public nuisance. It will not create or effect zoning in the unincorporated parts of the county and any ordinance created after its passage would not apply within any municipal corporate limits.
- This referendum will only be on the ballot in the unincorporated parts of the county.
- It requires only a simple majority to pass; if it does not pass, it cannot be voted on again until at least four years later.

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