Alabama state legislature adjourns legislative session; 10 constitutional amendments to appear on 2022 statewide ballot

Alabama voters will vote on 10 constitutional amendments in 2022. One measure, which would authorize $85 million in bonds to be issued for public historical sites and state parks, will be on the May 24 primary election ballot. The other nine amendments will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The legislature referred five of the amendments to the 2022 ballot during the 2021 legislative session, and another five constitutional amendments during the 2022 legislative session, which adjourned on April 8.

In November, Alabama voters will be asked to approve an updated and recompiled state constitution, titled the Alabama Constitution of 2022. Voters will also decide a ballot measure that would authorize the Code Commissioner to incorporate constitutional amendments that are approved at the elections on May 24 and Nov. 8 into the Alabama Constitution of 2022 if voters approve the new constitution. The other amendments would:

  • allow local governments to use funding provided for broadband internet infrastructure under the American Rescue Plan Act and award such funds to public or private entities;
  • remove orphans’ business from the jurisdiction of county probate courts;
  • allow the state legislature to provide for offenses for which bail may be denied;
  • require changes to laws governing the conduct of a general election to be implemented at least six months from the general election;
  • require the Governor to provide notice to the Attorney General and the victim’s family before granting a commutation or reprieve of a death sentence
  • specify that counties and municipalities have authority under to provide for financing economic and industrial development through the use of public funds, issuing bonds, and leasing property or lending bonds to a private entity; and
  • authorize specific cities to use a previously established property tax to directly fund capital improvements in addition to using the revenue to repay bonds and other debt.

Both houses of the Alabama State Legislature are required to pass a proposed constitutional amendment by a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote in order to refer it to the 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 during even-numbered years ranged from 4 to 15.