Laws governing local initiative in Alabama

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Ordinances

Section 11-44-105 Adoption of ordinances by initiative and referendum in Birmingham, Alabama.

Signatures

Whenever an application shall be presented to the board of commissioners purporting to be signed by the electors of the city or town then duly qualified to vote in the city or town equal in number to at least 25 percent of the entire number of voters who were duly qualified to vote in the last general municipal election held in said city or town for the purpose of electing a commissioner, requesting that a certain ordinance, and setting out the provisions thereof, be enacted into law by the board of commissioners of said city or town, it shall then be the duty of said board of commissioners to forthwith examine into the qualifications of the signers of said petition; and, if it shall find that said petition does not contain 25 percent in number of the entire number of voters who were duly qualified to vote in the last general municipal election for the purpose of electing a commissioner, it shall within 10 days after the receipt of such petition notify the persons presenting the same in writing of such fact, provided their names and addresses shall have been endorsed on said petition as the presentors of said petition, said presentors not to exceed 10, and thereupon the persons so presenting the said petition shall have 10 days within which to secure additional signers to meet the deficiency pointed out by the said board of commissioners. In case of failure to secure any additional numbers that may be necessary within 10 days, no further action shall be taken upon said petition by the said board of commissioners.

If the said petition as originally presented is found by said board of commissioners of said city or town to contain the signatures of electors of the city or town then duly qualified to vote in the city or town equal in number to at least 25 percent of the entire number of voters who were duly qualified to vote in the last general municipal election held in the said city or town for the purpose of electing a commissioner, or if additional names shall have been secured thereto as hereinabove provided to bring the total number of signatures of such voters up to said 25 percent and said petitions conform to the other requirements of this article, then the said board of commissioners of said city or town shall within 30 days after receipt of said petition consider the said proposed ordinance. If it fails or refuses to enact said ordinance into law within said 30 days after the receipt of said petition, it shall then be the duty of said board of commissioners to submit to a vote of the electors of said city or town, either at a general election for commissioner of said city or town or a special municipal election, such election in any case to be not less than 60 days nor more than 70 days from the date of the filing of said petition, the question of whether or not said ordinance shall become law. Notice of such election shall be given by publication once a week for three successive weeks in some newspaper, if any, published in said city or town and, if there is no such newspaper, then by posting notice of said election at five public places in said city or town at least 20 days before the date fixed for said election, and such election shall be held and the result declared in all respects the same as a general election for a commissioner of said city or town.

Ballot Format

At such election, the ballots shall be substantially in the following form: "Official Ballot (Then shall follow a brief statement of the substance of said proposed ordinance). ( ) For said ordinance. ( ) Against said ordinance." Those in favor of the enactment of said ordinance into law shall so indicate by placing a cross mark within the brackets before the words "For said ordinance" and those who are opposed to the enactment of said ordinance into law shall so indicate by placing a cross mark within the brackets before the words "Against said ordinance." A separate ballot shall be prepared and used for each proposed ordinance. Should a majority of the votes cast in said election be in favor of enactment into law of said proposed ordinance, then said ordinance shall become operative three days after the result of said election shall have been declared, but should a majority of the votes cast in said election be against said ordinance, then said proposed ordinance shall not become law by reason of said procedure. (Acts 1915, No. 749, p. 869; Code 1940, T. 37, §119.)

Classification of municipalities

Section 11-40-12
(a) There are hereby established eight classes of municipalities based on the population as certified by the 1970 federal decennial census, as authorized by amendment No. 375, Constitution of Alabama, 1901, as follows:

  • Class 1: All cities with a population of 300,000 inhabitants or more;
  • Class 2: All cities with a population of not less than 175,000 and not more than 299,999 inhabitants;
  • Class 3: All cities with a population of not less than 100,000 and not more than 174,999 inhabitants;
  • Class 4: All cities with a population of not less than 50,000 and not more than 99,999 inhabitants;
  • Class 5: All cities with a population of not less than 25,000 and not more than 49,999 inhabitants;
  • Class 6: All cities with a population of not less than 12,000 and not more than 24,999 inhabitants;
  • Class 7: All cities with a population of not less than 6,000 and not more than 11,999 inhabitants;
  • Class 8: All cities and towns with a population of 5,999 inhabitants or less.

(b) The legislature may refer, in the title thereof, to the class or classes of municipalities herein set out, in adopting general laws.

(c) Any municipality incorporated after June 28, 1979, shall be placed in one of the above classes according to the population of the municipality at the time of its incorporation. (Acts 1979, No. 79-263, p. 402, §§1, 3.)