Jones discusses constitutional amendments

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2014

When locals go to the polls in November, they will vote on five constitutional amendments and on Wednesday, Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, discussed those amendments with the Andalusia Lions Club.

Jones explained that there is a new, simpler explanation for amendments for this election.

“Amendments have to be described in a way that you can read them and if there is any cost,” he said. “It also explains what it means if you vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

Jones told members that the explanations are written and agreed upon by a bipartisan group, which he said makes the description fairer.

The first amendment, Jones said deals with the courts’ ability to utilize laws from other nations.

“All around the southeast, there have been times when courts have been allowing laws from other nations to decide cases,” Jones said. “It’s used in criminal defenses. For example, I’m justified in shooting my spouse because it is allowed in my homeland. The most common – domestic cases – some cultures allow what they call discipline of their spouses. It’s what we call domestic violence.”

Jones said the amendment would clarify that Alabama will abide by the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws and state laws and no others.

The second is an amendment that would allow the state to sell up to $50 million in bonds to renovate National Guard armories.

“Facilities across Alabama are in great disrepair,” he said.

The funds would be paid back over 20 years.

The third is an amendment that was sponsored by Jones that essentially provides every citizen with the fundamental right to bear arms and implements the most rigorous form of judicial review – strict scrutiny.

“The reason this became an issue is because the last two Supreme Court cases dealing with the Second Amendment has been a 5-4 ruling,” he said. “Five (Supreme Court Justices) say that the second amendment applies to individual rights. Basically, one change in the Supreme Court and it could change the interpretation of the Second Amendment for the past 200 years.”

The fourth amendment Jones discussed is the Alabama Board of Education Expenditure Increase in which the measure, if approved by voters, would require a two-thirds vote by a city or county board of education when a board seeks to increase local expenditures by $50,000 or more.

Amendment five, which is the Alabama Right to Hunt and Fish amendment, would clarify that the people have the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife subject to reasonable regulations that promote conservation and management of fish and wildlife, and preserve the future of hunting and fishing.