HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Voters head to the polls tomorrow and while the races for governor and the U.S. Senate have received most of the attention, Alabama voters are also being asked to decide on 10 constitutional amendments.
That covers a lot of material and News 19 has worked to provide you with information about the amendments to help you make an informed decision in the voting booth.
Amendment 7 relates to economic development and how local legislation covering economic development interacts with the Alabama Constitution’s Amendment 772 – also about economic development.
Under Alabama law municipalities cannot give a thing of value to a company or individual. But economic development often requires tax incentives and other offers to recruit businesses.
Over time numerous counties in the state established local legislation dealing with economic development. Voters approved Amendment 772 in 2004 and there have been questions over the years about how it conflicts or not with local measures.
Amendment 7 sponsor Alabama Rep. Jeff Sorrells, R-Hanford, says it is designed to end the need for local governments to go to court to establish their economic development projects were lawful. It also allows for the printing of a project notice to be printed in a county or city’s newspaper, and it is not required to be the newspaper of the largest circulation.
Amendment 7 says, “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.”
Amendments 8 and 9 deal with bringing some privately owned sewer systems in Shelby, Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties under state regulatory authority — supervising how customers are billed.
Amendment 8 reads, “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.”
And Amendment 9 reads, “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.”