Some statewide amendments

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 5, 2000

worth ‘yes’ vote

Staff Editorial

Nov. 4, 2000 10 PM

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The Messenger encourages all registered voters in Pike County to participate in the election process Tuesday. This election is critical and will help determine who will lead our country, our state Supreme Court and other key issues, including some amendments that will shape the state for years to come.

The Messenger is endorsing some amendments that will affect Pike County and Pike County residents.

What follows is a summary of our position on some of the amendments that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot:

1) Passage of Amendment 1 could some 45 bridges in Pike County. The proposed amendment to the Constitution of Alabama would establish the County and Municipal Government Capital Improvement Trust Fund and the Alabama Capital Improvement Trust Fund and redistribute a portion of the oil and gas capital payments now being paid into the Alabama Trust Fund under Amendment 450 of the 1901 Constitution. Passage of the amendment would authorize issuing of General Obligation Bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $350 million. We endorse this amendment and encourage voters to vote "YES" to helping improve roads and bridges in Pike County.

2) Amendment 2 would abolish the prohibition of interracial marriages by amending the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. Section 102 of that constitution entitled "miscegenation laws," states "The legislature shall never pass any law to authorize or legalize any marriage between any white person and a Negro, or descendant of a Negro." Our outdated state law conflicts with federal law, and consequently, is worthless. We support a "YES" vote on this amendment to make the two consistent.

3) Amendment 3 will be putting in the Constitution what is already on the books. The proposed statewide amendment, if passed, would "provide that counties and incorporated municipalities in Alabama receive a minimum of 10 percent of the trust fund income from the Alabama Trust Fund when the trust income in the preceding fiscal year exceeds sixty million dollars ($60,000,000); and to provide that the funds distributed to the counties and incorporated municipalities shall be expended as provided by general law." In other words, if the Alabama Trust Fund exceeds $60 million, 20 percent of the interest will be turned over to counties and municipalities for capital improvements. The counties will get 10 percent and the municipalities will get 10 percent. We endorse this amendment and encourage residents to vote "YES." Pike County stands to benefit from this amendment.

4) Passage of Amendment 4 will repeal the provision that "no district ad valorem tax shall be voted upon or collected except by those counties that are levying and collecting a special countywide ad valorem tax." We support a "YES" vote on this amendment to ensure counties will be able to make tax collection decisions locally.

5) Amendment 5 provides for the members of Auburn University’s Board of Trustees. We support a "YES" vote on this amendment to ensure equal representation throughout the state on Auburn’s Board of Trustees.

6) Amendments 6 through 14 deal with municipalities and counties other than those in Pike County. We are not endorsing or opposing these amendments due to their lack of applicability to Pike County.

Local amendments 1 and 2 would phase out the supernumerary system and allow elected officials, such as legislators, county commissioners and mayors into the state retirement system. Currently those office holders are not eligible for retirement. We do not endorse these amendments, but encourage voters to review the full breadth of what they will do and to make an informed decision.

The Messenger is not issuing endorsements on candidates.

That said, The Messenger cannot and will not support incumbents for Pike County Commission due to our belief that commissioners have repeatedly abused public trust by failing to conduct many business affairs in the open. We support a government that keeps constituents informed on the issues that affect us all. Please consider the Pike County Commission’s track record when it comes to conducting business in the public eye when making your decision.  

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