Alabamians vote against removing racist language from constitution | News
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC)- More than a million Alabamians voted against removing racist language from the state constitution.
Amendment Four failed Tuesday 61 percent to 39 percent. Supporters of the amendment were not happy Wednesday.
"The perception of the entire world, because it goes out in news articles that we still have that language in our constitution. It is a personal embarrassment for all of us, not just economic development," Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster said.
A section of the 1901 constitution called for a poll tax and maintaining segregated schools. The Alabama business community feared leaving the language in would hurt industrial recruitment.
The Alabama Education Association led the fight against the amendment because language that made education a state right was also removed.
"We were concerned about a sneak attack to hurt education funding in the state. AEA quickly identified if the amendment passed it would change public education in this state," Lance Hyche with AEA said.
State Representative John Rogers says he is glad the amendment failed.
"They were putting the okie doke on us. The okie doke means tell me one thing and but you have a hidden agenda. That is what was hidden was about education," Rogers said.
Those who backed the amendment say AEA and black lawmakers want to keep the right to an education as a way to raise taxes.
"So they can go back to court so they can enforce increased funding and increased taxes by going around the legislature. That is reason they want that language in there," Ward said.
Governor Robert Bentley and others say they want to see the racist language removed. AEA is willing to help but only if they can be guaranteed if education would not be caught in the crossfire.
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