In addition to voting for candidates on Nov. 6, 2018, Alabamians voted to pass four amendments. Here are the amendments and how they will affect Alabama.
Amendment 1: “Providing for certain religious rights and liberties; authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and property owned or administrated by a public school or public body; and prohibiting the expenditure of public funds in defense of the constitutionality of this amendment.”
This amendment allows for the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property if other constitutional requirements are met. Although, the constitutionality cannot be defended using public funds.
Amendment 2: “To declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
This amendment institutes “Alabama as recognizing the rights of the unborn and acknowledging that these rights, like those of all persons, require state protection,” according to Alabama Policy Institute. While there are few immediate effects, it sets the stage for Alabama to have the power of passing pro-life policies in the state legislature if the Roe vs. Wade ruling undergoes changes in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chairman at College Republican Federation of Alabama, Austin Harrington, believes that this amendment is necessary because it “add(s) wording to the state constitution that would guarantee protection of the unborn.”
Amendment 3: “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, relating to the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama, to specify that the congressional districts from which members are appointed continue to reflect those as constituted on January 1, 2018, to remove the State Superintendent of Education from membership, and to delete the requirement that members vacate office at the annual meeting of the board following their seventieth birthday.”
Amendment 3 affects the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama. Members no longer have to retire after their seventieth birthday, the composition of the Board will not be affected whether or not Alabama gains or loses a congressional seat in 2020 and the State Superintendent of Education is no longer an automatic member of the Board.
Amendment 4: “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that, if a vacancy in either the House of Representatives or the Senate occurs on or after October 1 of the third year of a quadrennium, the seat would remain vacant until a successor is elected at
the next succeeding general election.”
This amendment prohibits the Governor from calling for special elections to fill legislative seats that are open late in term. So, the state will save money by not having as many special elections.
Although, this does not apply to Alabama’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate.
Erica Boleyn, director of events for Samford University’s College Republicans, supported all four of these amendments.
“The passage of these amendments shows that the people are standing up for Alabama values,” she said.
Hope Dawson, Contributing Writer