2022 Alabama Constitution set to head to voters after unanimous legislative approval

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WIAT) — Alabama’s 1901 Constitution is considered the longest in the world. It has over 900 amendments and contains language that has since been declared unconstitutional.

“It’s kind of what the new one will look like once voters embrace it,” said Nancy Ekberg, a member of the Alabama Citizens’ Council for Constitutional Reform, holding up a thick booklet.

Ekberg has worked with Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform for 20 years to update the language of the document governing the state.

“Those words prohibiting children of mixed races from going to school together exist in that 1901 constitution, and those words are still there even though they are unconstitutional,” Ekberg said.

She believes the recompiled 2022 constitution will be a positive step for the state.

“It represents more clearly and is more easily understood by the average person reading it,” Ekberg said.

Change has been a long time coming. Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Pleasant Grove) offered an amendment to voters in 2019 to allow Alabama to reform the constitution.

“We needed to reflect a 2022 Alabama instead of this 1901 constitution designed to disenfranchise black voters, poor whites, and other communities of color.”

This amendment passed – leading to the draft 2022 constitution that was unanimously approved by lawmakers this session.

“It’s a bit surreal. We have a lot of fights in the Alabama legislature, partisan fights, often racial fights as well. To be able to come together around a big issue and for me to be part of it, I’m very proud of that.

The proposal removes language related to poll taxes, separate schools and interracial marriage. It also organizes local changes by county and consolidates sections related to economic development.

Coleman says the changes were long overdue, but she’s proud they passed.

“If I never accomplish anything else, thanks to my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature and the people of the State of Alabama, we were able to accomplish one of the most significant events of my legislative career,” Coleman said. .

The resolution now belongs to the governor. If she signs it, the proposed constitution will be on the ballot for voters to decide.


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