Tuesday, November 22, 2022
The Constitution of 2022
On December 14, 1819, Alabama was granted statehood after previously being part of the Mississippi and Alabama territories. The first Alabama constitution was drafted and passed at a convention in Huntsville, Alabama. Subsequently, four constitutions were adopted partly due to the Civil War and Reconstruction. The sixth version of the Alabama constitution was adopted in 1901 and remained the authoritative constitution of Alabama until 2022.
The 1901 Constitution was amended over 900 times and was comprised of eighteen sections. The 1901 Constitution was problematic because it had many duplicative sections and contained racist language. It is important to note that while this racist language was already void because it violated the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution, the language still remained. In order to remedy these issues, the Alabama Legislature decided to act by proposing the Constitution of 2022 as discussed in the remainder of this article.
The Passage of the Constitution of 2022
In 2019 Amendment 951 sponsored by Representative Merika Coleman (D) was passed by the Alabama Legislature on a 94-0 vote. This amendment called for the Director of the Alabama Legislative Services Agency through a proposed draft to rearrange the 1901 Constitution. Specifically, it called for “removing all racist language, delet[ing] duplicative and repealed provisions, consolidate[ing] provisions regarding economic development, [and] arrang[ing] all local amendments by county of application during the 2022 Regular Session of the Legislature, and mak[ing] no other changes.”
As a result, a Joint Interim Committee on the Recompilation of the Constitution comprised of three Representatives, three Senators, and four civilians was formed by the legislature to assist the Director of the Alabama Legislative Services Agency in providing a recompiled constitution to the Alabama Legislature for approval. The committee was successful in recompiling the constitution and the recompiled constitution was passed by the requisite three-fifths margin by the state legislature. The question to adopt the recompiled constitution was then presented to the voters of Alabama in the November 8, 2022 election and approved by over 76% of the voters. This amended constitution is now known as the Alabama Constitution of 2022 and is the authoritative constitution of the state of Alabama.
The Alabama Constitution of 2022
While many of the provisions of the 1901 Constitution remain, the Constitution of 2022 is neatly divided into statewide provisions and local provisions and the racist language at issue no longer remains. While the local provisions section will grow due to Alabama’s constitutional limitations on Home Rule, the local provisions are now alphabetically organized by county and divided into subcategories. The reorganization of the Constitution will lead to less confusion among both legally and non-legally trained readers, and the removal of the racist language is a step in the right direction in light of historical racial inequities in the state.
 2019 Al. ALS 271, 2019 Ala. Acts 271, 2019 Al. Pub. Act 271, 2019 Al. HB 328.
 2021 Al. ALS 523, 2021 Ala. Acts 523, 2021 Al. Pub. Act 523, 2021 Al. HJR 211.
 2022 Al. ALS 177, 2022 Ala. Acts 177, 2022 Al. Pub. Act 177, 2022 Al. HB 319.