Alabama editorial roundup

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Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

July 6

The Dothan (Alabama) Eagle on state’s constitution:

Anyone who remains unconvinced of the need for a complete overhaul of Alabama’s 1901 Constitution should consider the constitutional amendment referendum that will be on ballots for our state’s July 15 runoff election.

It’s an issue that only affects cotton producers in our state. Today, the cotton industry in Alabama has a research, education and promotion initiative that’s funded by a voluntary contribution from each producer. The majority of farmers don’t object to the contribution, which is a per bale fee; that’s apparent by the small number of farmers who take advantage of a refund mechanism that allows them to get their contributions back. Only 7 percent of Alabama cotton producers seek a refund.

The industry wants cotton farmers to consider removing the refund mechanism and making the contribution mandatory. The farmers would vote on this. But in order for the cotton farmers to make a decision like this for their own industry, the people of Alabama have to approve another amendment to the state constitution to allow them to do so.

That’s no way to run a circus. But that’s not the most ridiculous part.

The constitutional amendment referendum is on the ballot for the July 15 runoff. There is a smattering of local runoffs here and there, but because of runoffs for state office from the GOP primary, the election will be held in all 67 counties.

However, there are no runoffs among Democrats, so the Democratic ballot will have one referendum - the constitutional amendment. Without it, there would be no Democratic ballot. So the state is essentially activating a Democratic runoff election simply for a constitutional amendment question that could have had far greater exposure in either the June 3 primary or the Nov. 4 general election.

There’s a great temptation to advocate a “no” vote on this and any future constitutional amendment referendum; perhaps if Alabama voters refused to add any more to the hundreds and hundreds of amendments to our broken constitution, lawmakers will have no choice but to allow for the creation of a newer and more efficient guiding document.

But because we believe the cotton farmers to whom this initiative applies should be able to decide issues that affect their bottom lines, the rest of Alabama’s voters - or at least the picayune number who turn out to vote on July 15 - should do what’s necessary to make that happen, and vote yes on the cotton amendment.



July 3

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