Amendment One, the only statewide amendment on the March 5 ballot, would have removed the legislative requirement for local bills to pass a "Budget Isolation Resolution" (BIR) by a 60% majority if the state's two budgets have not already passed.

Voters were split on the proposal on March 5 but came down on the "No" side.

Unofficial but usually reliable results from the Alabama Secretary of State's office reported:

Yes. 341,139.  48.67%

No.  359,770.  51.33%.

The present requirement will continue: If the two state budgets have not both already been passed, the passage of any bill, local or general, will continue to require each House to first pass by 60% a "Budget Isolation Resolution" in advance of each bill.

If the proposed amendment had passed on March 5, it would have removed the BIR requirement on local bills, those affecting only one city or county.

The practical effect of the "No" vote is the legislature should handle the two state budgets before passing any bills. Those are the general fund budget and the education budget.

State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, Jr. (R-Prattville), who sponsored Amendment One in the State Senate, had said he proposed the change to remove an "unnecessary hurdle that has really had no effect on legislation."

Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, had said the change would have removed "questions about how you can effectively and constitutionally move a local bill forward" and "any kind of question that could be raised about the number of votes that were required to get the bill to the point that it could be passed."

A conservative think-tank, the Alabama Policy Institute, had produced a study of Amendment One titled "Ballot Language & Policy Analysis." It is available in full here.

The study came down for a 'No' vote:

Being touted by proponents as an effort to streamline government, the amendment would allow local laws and local constitutional amendments to be passed by the Legislature before the state General Fund and Education Trust Fund budget have been adopted. While API is all for streamlining state government, that is not at all what Statewide Amendment 1 would do.

The intent (of the BIR requirement) is to make it harder for legislators to ignore the constitutional directive to focus on the budgets.

API has several concerns with no longer requiring a BIR for local bills.  The BIR debate is an important part of the legislative process and can halt (or at least slow down) bad policy from passing. Doing away with the BIR vote for local bills would also make it easier to pass local constitutional amendments, such as the ‘local’ expansion of gambling (Senate Bill 324) that passed the Senate during the 2023 regular session. In fact, many bills being presented as local bills have the potential to have an impact on the entire state, beyond the geographic area that they directly affect. 

The API analysis effectively prevailed with the "No" vote.

Read the 1819 News explanation of the proposed amendment a week prior to the primary here.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.