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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Democrats Continue Fight for Constitutional Reform

Democratic members of the Alabama Legislature announced Thursday that they would introduce a resolution that would allow the state's voters to decide whether to call a constitutional convention to reform the state's constitution.

State Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, said that he hopes his Republican colleagues who now control both chambers of the Legislature will join him in support of allowing the people to vote. Newton has championed a reform of Alabama's oft amended 1901 constitution by convention. Democrats had brought legislation for years when they controlled the legislature, but were never successful.

"Today is step one in letting the people of Alabama decide if they want a new constitution," Newton said. "Why should we be afraid of the citizens of Alabama?"

State Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham, said that Alabama's constitution was written to disenfranchise blacks, women and poor whites, and, with its hundreds of amendments, a broken document.

"Our constitution is clearly broken," she said. "It has hundreds of amendments and every time we add another amendment it is weakened even more."

Republicans have said they favor an article-by-article revision of the state's constitution. State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, has introduced legislation this session that would amend the constitution to remove racist language.

-- Markeshia Ricks

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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