Posted by R. Neal

The Alabama State Legislature is debating (!), again (!), whether they should have a referendum to remove segregationist provisions from the State Constitution:

In 2004, the last go-round at deleting the racist provisions from the Constitution went by the extremely pedestrian name of Amendment 2. After it lost by 1,846 votes, a better handle would have been The Tennessee-Florida-Georgia-Mississippi Tourism Improvement Act.

Perhaps whether a national organization books a convention in Alabama does not hinge on the state's inability to remove the hate speech from its Constitution, but it most certainly cannot help.

Yet, what we're hearing from Montgomery is the same tired arguments that confused the debate last time. Removing a 1956 amendment, opponents say, would allow a judge to unilaterally raise taxes to better fund Alabama schools.

Do we really want to go here again?

The 1956 amendment, records and media accounts from the time show, was written as a reaction to the 1954 Supreme Court order to integrate public schools. Alabamians riled by the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education decision approved an amendment telling any public school that the Legislature reserved the right to pull government funding if it got the notion to obey the high court's order.

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It's way past time for the state to remove this foul-smelling dead letter from its governing document. Both the Democrats who don't want to talk about it this session and the Republicans who want to only partially edit racist language owe Alabamians an explanation. Either put forth the amendment as offered in 2004 or explain why you won't.

It's amazing how something so obvious and so simple can get so convoluted when there are politicians involved.