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Business Has a Stake in Four Constitutional Amendments on November Ballots

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Four of the 14 constitutional amendments on Nov. 8 statewide ballots are of vital importance to Alabama’s business community including the Right to Work amendment.

The Business Council of Alabama recommends voters approve Amendments 2, 8, 11, and 14 due to their importance.

Amendment 2

The Alabama Rules Governing Allocation of State Park Funds Amendment would prohibit using State Park funds for other purposes.

Amendment 2, the Alabama Rules Governing Allocation of State Park Funds Amendment, will be on the ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.

For background, from 2011 to 2015, the Legislature moved $15 million from the State Parks budget to the General Fund, causing five state parks to close and other parks to limit service and hours of operation. The public didn’t like moving the dedicated park funds and the closing of five parks in 2015 so Alabama State Parks Partners lobbied and the amendment was proposed to ensure that future state park funds would not be allocated to other uses.

The Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama has endorsed this amendment.

A “yes” vote supports this proposal to prohibit reallocating State Park funds for other uses.

A “no” vote opposes this proposal, allowing the Legislature to continue to move funds from the State Park budget to other uses.

Amendment 8

The Right to Work amendment would enhance Alabama’s status as a right-to-work state.

“yes” vote on Amendment 8 will enhance Alabama’s status as a right-to-work state and enshrine its current legal status in the Alabama Constitution.

Right to work means that an employee regardless of whether or not he or she joins a union has a right to work and that no employee can be forced to join, or not join, a union, or be forced to pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment.

Amendment 8 would constitutionally prohibit employers from forcing employees to gain union membership or renounce union membership as a condition of employment, according to Ballotpedia.

“yes” vote supports this proposal to add the “right to work” to the Alabama Constitution in addition to the statutes providing for the state’s current “right to work” policies.

Click here for a printable pdf Amendment 8 flyer.

Amendment 11

The Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zones Act would modify current manufacturing zone tax revenue regulations.

A “yes” vote for Amendment 11 confirms the Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zones Act and allows creation of major 21st Century Manufacturing Zones to incentivize industrial development to Alabama. Companies must invest at least $100 million on at least 250 contiguous acres to be able to borrow money for land, road construction, infrastructure development, and facility construction.

These zones are Tax Increment Financing districts. A TIF uses future gains in taxes to finance current improvements that will create those gains whether it’s a public project such as a road, school, or hazardous waste cleanup that increase the value of surrounding real estate, and often new investment. Tax Increment Financing channels funding toward improvements distressed or underdeveloped areas and creates funding for public projects that may otherwise be unaffordable to localities.

A “yes” vote supports this proposal to confirm the Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone Act, which allowed Alabama cities to create specific zones to attract industry to Alabama.

A “no” vote opposes this proposal, leaving the stipulations of the Act out of the Alabama Constitution.

Amendment 14

The Alabama Approval of Budget Isolation Resolution Proposing a Local Law Amendment would approve a legislative voting procedure and eliminate future, costly lawsuits over how laws were passed.

A “yes” vote on Amendment 14 guarantees the legitimacy of Budget Isolation Resolution voting in the House and protects more than 600 local laws that have been passed. Currently, bills passed in the Alabama Legislature prior to budget approval require a “budget isolation resolution” vote of at least a three-fifths supermajority of the quorum present. Recently, the House had been passing BIRs with only three-fifths of those members who were both present and voting, requiring the support of fewer legislators.

Amendment 14 guarantees the legitimacy of the “present and voting” interpretation of the BIR voting procedure. Otherwise, courts could strike down these local laws following civil lawsuits at a cost to taxpayers.

A “yes” vote supports this proposal to guarantee the application of budget isolation resolutions to local laws passed by the legislature prior to November 8, 2016.

A “no” vote opposes this proposal to guarantee the application of budget isolation resolutions, opening the door for courts to strike down laws passed under the “present and voting” BIR procedure.

Ballotpedia has explanations of all 14 amendments.

About Dana Beyerle

Dana Beyerle
Director of Communications
(334) 240-8768 | Fax: (334) 241-5984
Email Dana Beyerle

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