Voters pass Alabama constitutional amendments: What will change?
Most voters In Alabama Tuesday were reminded to flip over their ballot and help decide the fate of five constitutional amendments. Four of the five amendments passed with large margins. Amendment Two is still too close to call. Amendment number one deals with foreign laws. Thomas Spencer, Senior Research Associate for the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, "PARCA," believes the amendment is more of a statement. "That gives the courts guidance to favor American law over foreign law," explained Spenser. "But in practice, the courts generally already do that." PARCA spent weeks researching the five amendments and what each would mean for Alabama. Voters were split on amendment number two. It would allow the state to borrow 50 million dollars from the Alabama trust fund to update National Guard armories. "It indicates that Alabamians are fiscally conservative, that they're very interested in reigning in spending and making sure their state dollars are spent wisely," explained Spencer. "I think there's probably an awareness that we do have other needs in the state." Amendment Three passed with three quarters of the vote. It may sound familiar, "to provide that every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms." "The U.S. Supreme Court said that individuals have the right to bear arms but states still can restrict the time, manner and place of carrying those arms, places some reasonable restrictions on it." This amendment makes any restriction subject to strict scrutiny. "That strict scrutiny means that the government has to have a compelling interest and has to prove that to a court if they're going to pass any gun restrictions and that the proposed restriction is narrowly tailored to achieve the government's compelling interest," added Spencer. Amendment Four deals with school finances and unfunded mandates. "An example might be, the state legislature might want a security officer in every school statewide," Spenser told ABC 3340. "Well, they can pass that law but they'd have to provide the funding, or they'd have to pass it by two thirds to require the local systems to expend money." Finally, Amendment Five is known as the "Sportsperson's Bill Of Rights." "This is an amendment to an existing amendment That just further clarifies Alabamians right to hunt and fish," explained Spencer. Amendment Five adds language that says hunting will be Alabama's preferred method of controlling wildlife populations.