Breaking Down the Ballot: Explaining Alabama's Amendments


By Heather VacLav

We're four days away from the elections. While the presidential race is getting the most attention, don't forget there are 11 proposed state constitutional amendments for you to decide.

Sometimes the wording in the amendments is hard to understand, but nevertheless they are very important, so CBS 8 Political Analyst Steve Flowers helps break down the issues.

Amendment 1 wants to extend payments to the Forever Wild Land Trust for 20 years.

“We buy native, Alabama land and natural resources and save them for future generations,” Steve Flowers said. “It comes out of the Oil and Gas Trust fund money.”

Amendment 2 allows the state to refund and repurchase more bonds at lower interest rates, and offer incentives to bring in business.

“Most industrial recruiters in the state say we definitely need this to protect our ability to go after big industries like airbus, Mercedes and Hyundai,” Flowers said.

Amendment 4 is designed to take racist wording out of the constitution, but Flowers says there's more to it, and it’s worrying the education community.

“This thing is a Trojan horse, a wolf in sheep's clothing,” Flowers says explaining the amendment’s deception. “When you take the language out, it says you don’t have to fund education in the state, so we need to be leery of that one.”

Amendment 6 is Alabama's attempt to reject President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“It will probably pass overwhelmingly because most of the people in the state are against Obamacare,” Flowers said. “This just says we're going to put in our constitution that you can’t make someone buy health insurance.”

Amendment 7 protects employees in Alabama by enforcing private votes to form unions.

“It does give us a better stand with our right to work law, it gives another arm to say, look, not only are we a right to work state, but if someone tries to unionize they cant do it by voice vote, it's got to be a private vote,” he said.

Finally, Amendment 8 defines how much Alabama's legislators will be paid.

“They have set the standard for legislative pay from now on in the constitution; it will be based on Alabama's median income.” Flowers says as a result, “legislators can’t raise their own pay, they have to just leave it alone.”

Steve Flowers says fewer than half of Alabama voters who vote for the president will vote on the amendments, so he encourages people to not overlook the back of the ballot.

There are five other amendments specific to areas that do not affect CBS-8’s viewing area in Central or South Alabama.