"When voters cast a ballot on a statewide constitutional amendment, they should not have to worry if they have somehow fallen victim to a bait-and-switch operation in the voting booth," McMillan said. "This bill will make sure that referendum ballot language is fair, easy-to-understand, and, most importantly, truthful in all aspects. The fact that this bill didn't tarry around the House and passed on just the third legislative day, shows that it is an important priority for the Republican legislative leadership, the GOP Caucus, and the citizens of Alabama."
McMillan's legislation is designed to remove voter confusion and uncertainty over the ballot language of proposed statewide constitutional amendments by creating the fifteen-member Fair Ballot Commission comprised of five elected officials, including the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Commissioner on Agriculture and Industries, and the Secretary of State; five citizens and attorneys appointed by the elected officials. Neither the citizens nor the attorneys may be elected officeholders.
At least 60 days prior to a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment, the commission will place on the Legislature's website a plain language summary of the statewide ballot measure, which shall include the legal or constitutional authority for its passage, the effect of the statewide ballot measure if it is passed, including its cost and source of funding, and the effect of the statewide ballot measure if it is defeated.
In addition, the legislative website will include links to websites that discuss upcoming statewide ballot measures, as well as statements of support or opposition written by members of the Legislature, their designees, or members of the commission.
The commission's ballot statements will be printed, posted, and distributed in the same manner as sample ballots. They will also be available for printing at the Secretary of State's office or at any Probate Judge's office.
McMillan's legislation serves as a major component of the "We Dare Defend Our Right to Taxpayer Accountability" section of the House Republican Caucus' 2013 "We Dare Defend Our Rights" Legislative Agenda. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.