Federal File: Voted out; In Limbo

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California Republicans did not exactly roll out the welcome mat for members of the California Teachers Association who attended the state G.O.P.'s annual convention last month.

Delegates adopted a resolution condemning "the anti-Republican and anti-education attitudes, policies, and activities of the C.T.A.''

On a 468-to-217 vote, the party faithful also changed their bylaws to prohibit the union officials from sponsoring a hospitality suite or exhibit at any future California G.O.P. convention until "40 percent of their political contributions are made to Republicans.''

The C.T.A. had hosted a hospitality suite at last month's gathering, where teachers served ice cream and distributed literature supporting increases in education funding.

A spokesman for the union could not be reached for comment last week.

A dispute over the legality of 81 amendments to the Alabama constitution could affect school revenues in four counties, as well as some school board elections.

The problem results from Alabama's practice of amending its constitution to allow actions that would be routine local matters in most states.

"Our constitution doesn't provide for home rule, so to do just about anything, you have to amend the constitution,'' said Brenda Carr, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jim Bennett.

She said it currently carries 551 amendments.

In an effort to clear the underbrush from voters' ballots, the legislature in 1982 created a process under which a commission of state officials decided whether a proposed amendment would be voted on statewide. This allowed amendments affecting only one county to appear on only that county's ballots.

But Gov. Guy Hunt used his position on the panel in 1986 to block amendments that would have ended his power to fill county positions in some predominantly black counties.

As a result, the U.S. Justice Department ruled in January that the amendment process violates the federal Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising black voters.

State officials are awaiting the state attorney general's opinion on the legality of 81 amendments that had each been adopted by only one county.

Four of the 81 amendments dealt with local taxes for schools, and two more affect the election of school boards.

Vol. 13, Issue 24

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