Yes, Alabama desperately needs such a law, consider this:
Many citizens of Alabama may have never heard the term “Initiative and Referendum” and might not fully understand what the term means. They know referendum means citizens vote on something proposed by the legislature and put on the ballot by the Secretary of State. However, what they don’t understand is that the real power rests with whoever can get something put on a ballot for the people to vote on. Currently, that can only be done by the legislature.
Twenty four states have laws that lets citizens gather signatures and petition the Secretary of State to put the proposed law on the ballot to be voted on by the people, it’s called a"Ballot Initiative". Alabama citizens have been denied this power for decades, if they have a petition it must be forwarded to the elections committee in the legislature. That committee decides if the whole legislature gets to vote on it, or if perhaps special interests would be best served by their simply ignoring it, allowing it to die in committee.
Special Interest has a strangle hold on the legislature in the state of Alabama. That gives them enormous power over the lives of the states’ citizens, as well as almost total control of the affairs of state. Alabama, nor its’ people, will ever move forward any faster than special interest wants us to under current law! However, the power of all special interest can be diminished greatly by passing a law such as Initiative & Referendum, that gives the people the power to solve problems and improve the state for their children. It can be done by altering the current power bases and returning real power to the citizen where it should have been all along. Without that power being altered, special interest will continue to control each of our lives equally.
Initiative & Referendum Bills were prefiled in the Alabama Legislature every year for well over a decade. Not one of them got out of the elections committee, until March 2, 2006. That’s correct, not even one! The Democratic Party has controlled the election committee since reconstruction. I once assumed they were the problem with getting the bills out for a vote, I no longer believe that is true. The committee is made up roughly of 1/3 Republicans and 2/3 Democrats. The vote was unamious to send the bill to the floor for discussion. Obviously the committee, thought the Bill at least deserved to be discussed on the House floor. That happened on March 15, 2006. As a result, it now appears obvious the problem is a minimum of 22 individual members of the House of Representatives. Perhaps, these individuals really believe we, the citizens, are too ignorant to make decisions regarding how we are governed, then again, perhaps they, along with special interests, simply prefer ruling to legislating?
With elections coming up, I think the voting citizens of this state should send canidates a message, that being that if they won’t fix Alabamas’ problems, then we will.