Alabama voters will vote on 10 constitutional amendments in 2022. One measure will be on the May 24 primary ballot. The other nine amendments will appear on the November 8 general election ballot.
Voters will decide on a constitutional amendment on May 24 that would amend the state constitution to issue up to $85 million in bonds for the improvement, renovation, acquisition, construction and maintenance of state parks. Of the bonds, $80 million would be used for state parks operated by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and $5 million would be used for historic sites operated by the Alabama Historical Commission . Under the amendment, bond proceeds could not be used for the improvement, acquisition, supply, construction, equipment, or maintenance of Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama. If bond proceeds exceed $85 million for any reason, additional proceeds would be allocated to the Alabama Forestry Commission for capital improvements and state forest maintenance.
The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-24) and Rep. Wes Kitchens (R-27) as House Bill 565. The House approved it in a 97-1 vote on April 13, 2021, with five absent or no vote. The Senate passed an amended version of HB 565 in a 29-0 vote on April 29, with five absent or not voting. The House approved the amendments the same day in a 98-0 vote, with five absent or not voting.
The amendment’s sponsor, Rep Ledbetter, said: ‘Because interest rates are so low today, we are able to use the same amount we are paying now, re-issue new bonds and to invest $80 million in existing parks, which is going to be a tremendous asset to our state and to our tourism and throughout our state.
Christopher Blankenship of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said, “As we have seen over the past year with COVID, state parks and outdoor recreation have been extremely important to people for their physical and mental health. We have seen a big increase in the use of our parks, as well as the federal wilderness properties of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Blankenship also said attendance at state parks increased by about 1.2 million visitors in 2020 and that the amendment would bring state parks “to a level that people now expect and that the landscape changes with motorhomes and they become more advanced and demand more of our campground.”
In November, Alabama voters will be asked to approve an updated and recompiled state constitution, titled the 2022 Alabama Constitution. Voters will also decide on a ballot measure that would authorize the code commissioner to incorporate the constitutional amendments that are approved in the May 24 elections. and November 8 in the 2022 Alabama Constitution if voters approve the new constitution. The other amendments would be:
- allow local governments to allocate funding for broadband Internet infrastructure to public or private entities;
- removing orphans’ cases from the jurisdiction of county probate courts;
- allow the legislator to provide for offenses for which release on bail may be refused;
- require changes to laws governing the conduct of general elections to be implemented at least six months before the general election;
- require the governor to notify the attorney general and the victim’s family before granting a commutation or remission of the death sentence
- clarify that counties and municipalities have the power to fund economic and industrial development by using public funds, issuing bonds and leasing property or lending bonds to a private entity; and
- allowing specific cities to use a previously established property tax to directly fund capital improvements in addition to using the revenue to pay off bonds and other debts.
Both houses of the Alabama State Legislature are required to pass a proposed constitutional amendment by a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote to return it to a statewide ballot. . If the amendment is approved by a simple majority of voters, it becomes part of the state constitution.
A total of 78 constitutional amendments appeared on the statewide ballot in Alabama during even-numbered election years from 2000 to 2020, of which 62 were approved (79.49%) and 16 were defeated (20 .59%). From 2000 to 2020, the number of constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot in even-numbered years ranged from 4 to 15.