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Plan to remove racist language from Alabama constitution moves forward

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A late arrival climbs the steps of the illuminated Alabama Capitol in Montgomery. Ala., As Gov. Don Siegelman delivers his State of the Interior address on Tuesday, February 1, 2000. Lawmakers and educators can be seen gathered in the windows of the House of Commons at the second and third floors of the Capitol. (AP Photo / Dave Martin)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WIAT) – Lawmakers in Montgomery are close to finalizing a plan to remove racist language from the state’s 120-year-old constitution.

Alabama voters last year approved an effort to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution, as well as condense or recompile its roughly 1,000 amendments. It is currently the longest known constitution in the world.

“While not relevant, racist language has to come out and it’s a long time coming,” said committee member Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur.

The Legislative Services Agency is responsible for creating a plan to do so with input from the public and committees.

Representative Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, will chair the committee. She said the transcripts of the 1901 Constitutional Convention clearly explained its purpose by the men who drafted it.

“And they were real about their intention,” Coleman said. “This document itself and the spirit in which it was created were intended to deny the right to vote not only blacks or African Americans in the state of Alabama, but also poor whites.”

MPs hope to have a plan finalized by November and then present it to the Legislature next January when they return for session 2202.

If approved there, the revised constitution would be presented to voters in Alabama in November 2022.

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