Alabama Board of Education Expenditure Increase, Amendment 4 (2014)

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Amendment 4
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Alabama Constitution
Referred by:Alabama Legislature
Topic:State and local government budgets, spending and finance on the ballot
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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July 15
Amendment 1 Approveda
November 4
Amendment 1 Approveda
Amendment 2 Approveda
Amendment 3 Approveda
Amendment 4 Approveda
Amendment 5 Approveda
EndorsementsFull text
Polls
The Alabama Board of Education Expenditure Increase, Amendment 4 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Alabama as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure "increase[d] the requirement to a two-thirds vote (over 66.66 percent), rather than a simple majority (over 50 percent), of the Alabama Legislature in order to pass a law that would require local boards of education to cumulatively spend over $50,000 in local funds without providing the funds to pay for the increased expense. Separately, Amendment 4 continued to provide that a majority vote would be required for unfunded mandates that address the compensation, benefits, or due process rights of any employee of a board of education."[1][2]

The proposed amendment was sponsored in the Alabama Legislature by State Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-25) as Senate Bill 7. Every legislator voted in favor of putting this measure before voters.

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

Alabama Amendment 4
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 535,308 56.24%
No416,46043.76%

Election results via: Alabama Secretary of State

Text of the measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title of the measure appeared as follows:[3]

Statewide Amendment 4

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit a general law, whose purpose or effect is to require a new or increased expenditure of at least $50,000 of local funds annually, from becoming effective with regard to a city or county board of education without enactment by a 2/3 vote. (Proposed by Act 2014-185)

Yes ( )
No ( )
[4]

Ballot summary

The full ballot summary was as follows:[5]

Amendment 4 would increase the requirement to a two-thirds vote (over 66 percent), rather than a simple majority (over 50 percent), of the Alabama Legislature in order to pass a law that would require local boards of education to cumulatively spend over $50,000 in local funds without providing the funds to pay for the increased expense. Separately, Amendment 4 would continue to provide that a majority vote would be required for unfunded mandates that address the compensation, benefits, or due process rights of any employee of a board of education.

If Amendment 4 IS PASSED, it will require more votes for the Alabama Legislature to pass unfunded mandates on local school boards, except for legislation that addresses compensation, benefits, or due process rights of any employee of a board of education.

If Amendment 4 IS DEFEATED, the Legislature could continue to pass bills that impose unfunded mandates on boards of education by a simple majority vote of the Legislature.

No source of funding is required for this law.

The measure will have no impact on taxes.

The Constitutional authority for passage of this Amendment is set forth in Sections 284, 285, and 287 of the State Constitution. These sections outline the way a constitutional amendment may be put to the people of the State for a vote. [4]

Constitutional changes

Amendment 4 amended Amendment 621 of the Alabama Constitution. The amended text is as follows with the underlined text being added and the struck text being removed:[1]

Amendment 621.

(a) No general law, or state executive order whose purpose or effect is to require a new or increased expenditure of funds held or disbursed by the governing body of a municipality or county, or an instrumentality thereof, or a city or county board of education shall become effective as to any municipality or county, or an instrumentality thereof, or a city or county board of education until approved by an ordinance enacted, or a resolution adopted, by the governing authority of the affected municipality, county, or instrumentality, or board of education or until, and only as long as, the Legislature appropriates funds for the purpose to the affected municipality, county, or instrumentality, or board and only to the extent and amount that the funds are provided, or until a law provides for a local source of revenue within the municipality, county, or instrumentality, or board for the stated purpose and the affected municipality, county, or instrumentality, or board is authorized by ordinance or resolution to levy and collect the revenue and only to the extent and amount of the revenue.

(b) This amendment shall not apply to:

(1) A local law as defined in Article IV, Section 110, Constitution of Alabama 1901.
(2) An act, state executive order requiring expenditures by a school board.
(2) (3) An act defining a new crime or amending the definition of an existing crime.
(3) (4) An act, statute, executive order enacted, promulgated, or adopted and effective prior to the ratification of this amendment January 6, 1999, which by its provisions requires expenditures by the county or municipality at any time after the effective date of this amendment that date.
(4) (5) An act enacted, or state executive order promulgated or adopted to comply with a federal mandate, only to the extent of the federal mandate.
(5) (6) An act adopted or enacted by two-thirds of those voting in each house of the Legislature and any rule or regulation adopted to implement that act or adopted pursuant thereto.
(6) (7) An act determined by the Legislative Fiscal Office to have an aggregate insignificant fiscal impact on affected municipalities, counties, or instrumentalities, or boards. For purposes of this subsection, the phrase "aggregate insignificant fiscal impact" shall mean any impact less than $50,000 annually.
(7) (8) An act of general application prescribing the minimum compensation for public officials.
(8) An act, statute, administrative rule, or other provision or portion thereof addressing compensation, benefits, or due process of any employee of a board education.

(c) For the purposes of this amendment, the phrase board of education shall include the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and the Alabama High School of Mathematics and Science.[4]


Support

Supporters

Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-25) was the primary sponsor of SB 7.[1]

SB 7 "Yes" Votes

Below are lists of state legislators who voted "yes" on SB 7, thereby referring Amendment 4 to the ballot:[6][7]

Note: A yes vote on SB 7 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in Amendment 4.

House

The following representatives voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot:[6]

Senate

Opposition

No legislators voted against referring this measure to the ballot.[6][7]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Alabama ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • The Montgomery Advertiser said,
The most important amendment on the ballot is Amendment 4, which addresses unfunded mandates imposed on local boards of education. It requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to pass any measure that requires school boards to spend more than $50,000 in local funds without providing funds for the expense. It does not apply to laws involving compensation, benefits or due process rights.

School boards and administrators support the amendment, and the voters should as well. Unfunded mandates are an unjust burden on school systems, and the two-thirds requirement will make them much harder to impose.[4]

—Montgomery Advertiser[8]

  • The Times Daily said,
While some constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot are silly political gimmicks, amendment 2 supporting the Alabama National Guard and amendment 4 protecting school districts from unfunded mandates deserve support.[4]

—Times Daily[9]

  • The Dothan Eagle said,
If approved, this amendment would require increase the required legislative support for passage of unfunded education mandates to 2/3 majority vote.

This would make state mandates to local school boards more difficult to pass, giving local boards of education more control over their funds.

Our recommendation: Vote yes.[4]

—Dothan Eagle[10]

  • The Gadsden Times said,
Unfunded mandates play havoc with budgets, and municipal and county governments already are protected from them. Amendment 4 would require a two-thirds majority vote by the Legislature to pass any general law that would impose an unfunded mandate of more than $50,000 on local boards of education. School superintendents believe they need that protection. We agree.[4]

—Gadsden Times[11]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Alabama Constitution
Alabama Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIII
Amendments

According to Article 18 of the Alabama Constitution, the Alabama State Legislature was required to pass the bill by a three-fifths majority vote to place the amendment on the ballot. Senate Bill 7 was approved by the Alabama Senate on January 16, 2014, by a vote of 33 to 0. The bill was approved by the Alabama House of Representatives on March 13, 2014, by a vote of 95 to 0.[12]

Senate vote

January 16, 2014 Senate vote

Alabama SB 7 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 33 100.00%
No00.00%

House vote

March 13, 2014 House vote

Alabama SB 7 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 95 100.00%
No00.00%

See also

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External links

References