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Five Constitutional Amendments will appear on Nov. 4 ballot

When Chilton County voters cast their ballots Nov. 4, there will be five statewide constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot.

The Fair Ballot Commission provided a summary of each amendment with clear language to help voters make informed decisions before heading to the polls.

“It will really help voters to familiarize themselves with what is going to be on the ballot, before they get to the polls,” Chilton County Probate Judge Bobby Martin said. “People can come pick up a copy of a sample ballot, mark it up with who they are voting for, and bring that with them to the polls which saves a lot of time. With the five amendments on the ballot, it will help voters to know what they mean ahead of time.”

Amendment One asks voters to either vote “yes” or “no” to “prohibit the State of Alabama from giving full faith and credit to public acts, records or judicial proceedings of another state that violate the public policy of the State of Alabama and to prohibit the application of foreign law in violation of rights guaranteed natural citizens by the United States and Alabama Constitutions, and the statutes, laws and public policy thereof, but without application to business entities.”

There is no cost for Amendment One according to a summary by the Fair Ballot Commission, and if passed, Alabama would have in place a Constitutional provision that says Alabama citizens will not be subject to foreign law if application of the foreign law would violate Alabama law or result in a violation of their rights.

If the Amendment is defeated, “courts and legal authorities may choose to refuse to apply foreign law if the foreign law would result in a violation of Alabama law and/or deprive a citizen of his or her rights, even though there is no statute or Constitutional Amendment requiring the court or legal authority to do so.”

The second Amendment appearing on the ballot asks voters to either vote “yes” or “no” to an amendment “relating to the Capital Improvement Trust Fund, to increase the amount of the General Obligation Bonds authorized herein; to provide for additional payments from the Alabama Trust Fund to fund any bond issued; to provide for competitive bidding of the bonds; and to provide for the distribution of the proceeds for plans, construction, and maintenance of Alabama National Guard armories.”

If Amendment Two is passed, the state may borrow up to an additional $50 million in bonds to be repaid within 20 years in order to fund plans, construction, and maintenance of Alabama National Guard armories, according to the summary from the FBC.

If Amendment Two is defeated, the state will not be authorized to borrow up to an additional $50 million in bonds for construction and maintenance of Alabama National Guard armories.

It is estimated the cost to the Alabama Trust Fund of repaying $50 million in bonds that “could” be issued under Amendment Two would be about $3.7 million annually for 20 years, which could reduce interest income to the State General Fund and local governments, the FBC said.

Amendment Three provides “that every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms and that any restriction on this right would be subject to strict scrutiny; and to provide that no international treaty or law shall prohibit, limit, otherwise interfere with a citizen’s fundamental right to bear arms.”

Voters have the choice to vote “yes” or “no” to the Amendment.

If the Amendment is passed, the right to bear arms would be elevated under the state Constitution to a “fundamental right” and given the “highest possible protection.”

This right would also be provided with additional protection from potential interference by international treaty or foreign law.

If Amendment Three is defeated, the right to bear arms in Alabama would still exist in the state Constitution, but it would not be declared a fundamental right, and may not be subject to the highest possible protection.

“The right to bear arms will also not be protected from potential interference by international laws and treaties,” the FBC said.

Amendment Four asks voters to consider voting “yes” or “no” to prohibit “a general law, whose purpose or effect is to require a new or increased expenditure of at least $50,000 of local funds annually, from becoming effective with regard to a city or county board of education without enactment by a two-thirds vote.”

If the Amendment is passed, more votes would be required for the Alabama Legislature to pass unfunded mandates on local school boards, except for legislation that addressed compensation, benefits, or due process rights of any employee of a board of education.

If Amendment Four is defeated, the Legislature could continue to pass bills that impose unfunded mandates on boards of education by a simple majority vote of the Legislature.

Amendment Five would amend Amendment 597, appearing as Section 36.02, of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to “clarify that the people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to reasonable regulations that promote conservation and management of fish and wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing.”

If Amendment Five is passed, the state Constitution would be clarified to state that the people of Alabama have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife using traditional methods.

“This right would be subject to reasonable regulations to conserve wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing.”

Amendment Five would not affect current laws relating to eminent domain, trespass, or property rights. It would also make hunting and fishing by the public the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife in Alabama.”

If the Amendment is defeated, the people of Alabama would still have the right to hunt and fish using “traditional” methods, but that right “may be limited by existing or future laws and regulations.”

Also, the state Constitution would not state that hunting and fishing by the public is the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife in Alabama.

Sample ballots are available at the Probate Office in the Chilton County Courthouse.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.