Commission supports Amendment 1

Published 7:49 pm Monday, February 5, 2024

Chambers County Commissioners approved a resolution made by County Attorney Skip McCoy to encourage citizens to support Amendment 1 on the upcoming March 5 election during the Chambers County Commission meeting. 

Amendment 1 would allow legislation to be considered before education and general fund budgets are passed, without requiring a step to adopt an exception called Budget Isolation Resolution.

Since 1984, the Alabama Constitution has required that legislation not be considered until the education and general fund budgets are passed and delivered to the governor, McCoy said. 

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“The Legislature regularly passes local laws and local constitutional amendments that impact the services provided to Chambers County’s residents,” the resolution states. 

Many of these services include law enforcement, education, fire and ambulance services and economic development. 

By adopting the Budget Isolation Resolution, the legislature is allowed to consider other matters ahead of the two budgets. To adopt the BIR, they need a vote of “no less than three-fifths of a quorum present.” 

According to McCoy’s resolution, the interpretation of the language of the exception has been a point of contention in recent years, generating lawsuits over how many votes are needed. 

If a court finds that a local law’s BIR was adopted improperly, it may result in the law being challenged, regardless of whether the law passed both chambers and became law. 

Amendment 1 would allow local bills and local constitutional amendments to be considered by the legislature without the adoption of a BIR, essentially removing a “procedural step from the judicial process,” according to the resolution.

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama has adopted a resolution encouraging citizens to vote yes to the amendment. The Chambers County Commissioners via McCoy adopted a similar resolution for Chambers County.