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Groups work to change Alabama constitution

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Alabama's NAACP and the Greater Birmingham Ministries have teamed up to work towards a new Alabama State Constitution. The partnership will work towards removing racist and outdated language from the state's constitution.

The announcement comes just 1 day after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Voters Rights Act. Alabama's NAACP President, Benard Simelton, says that the language in Alabama's constitution is reflective of the fact that the act is still needed.

While amendments have been added to the constitution over the years, it has not been revised since 1901. It is also the largest constitution in America.

Simelton says two big things he would like to see dealt with is the wording that refers to poll taxes and segregated schools, " There's stuff in there that we don't enforce, even though it's still on the books, but it's those type of things we certainly need to take a look at."

There is currently a Constitutional Revision Committee that has been appointed by the Governor to look over the constitution, but their review won't be done until 2014. The NAACP and Greater Birmingham Ministries would like to see the process sped up.

The state's constitution can be revised 2 ways. The first, by an amendment. The amendment would be proposed by the legislature and would have to pass in both houses by 3/5th's majority. The bill or resolution proposing the amendment would set a date for citizens to vote on the revised edition. If the majority of people vote it in, then the governor would ratify it.

The second way for a revision is through a constitutional convention. The legislature must pass a bill or resolution that calls for a vote by the public to decide if there should be a convention. If the majority of people vote in favor of a convention, it will be held and delegates will be appointed. The delegates will then rewrite the constitution, but before it is approved, it would have to go back to the people for a final vote.

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