ALCAP ALERTS

 


Legislative Update - Week 10

Another busy week at the Alabama Legislature!  Click here for a report from the Southeast Law Institute's Eric Johnston, ALCAP's legal advisor, concerning HB277 (the daycare licensing bill) and HB440 (the Youth Residential Prevention Act).

In addition to these bills, HB354 (the Daily Fantasy Sports gambling legalization bill), which passed out of the House of Representatives last week by a narrow margin of only 5 votes, was in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee on Wednesday of this week.  The chairman, Sen. Del Marsh, allowed for a public hearing on the bill and ALCAP was able to address our concerns with this pro-gambling bill.  A lawyer representing the largest Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) companies, FanDuel and DraftKings, tried to counter ALCAP's comments, but fell short and actually reinforced the facts presented by ALCAP.  The chairman agreed to postpone a vote of the committee until next week.  Please contact members of the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee before Wednesday, May 3, and ask them to vote NOT to give the bill a favorable report.  Then call your State Senator and ask him or her to oppose HB354 (the Daily Fantasy Sports bill) if it comes to the full Senate for a vote.
 
The House, on Tuesday, passed HB353 (the "Sunday Brunch Bill").  This bill will allow any county or municipality that currently has Sunday alcohol sales to begin selling alcohol at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings instead of noon or 1:00 p.m. (as some local ordinances currently allow).  One problem with this bill is that, while some counties and municipalities were able to get Sunday alcohol sales with a simple vote of the local governing authorities, many required a vote of the people.  Some of the counties and municipalities that had a vote of the people did so in the form of a constitutional amendment.  If your area passed Sunday alcohol sales by a constitutional amendment, HB353 does not apply to you because a statute cannot override a constitutional amendment.  But, some counties and municipalities passed Sunday alcohol sales by a referendum (not a constitutional amendment).  These counties and municipalities could have been impacted by this bill because it would allow their local governing bodies to override the vote of the people.  However, Rep. Steve Clouse managed to get an amendment to the bill that would prevent county and municipality officials from moving the start time to 10:30 a.m. if their local ordinance had been passed by a referendum of the people.
 
This bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.  Please contact your State Senator and ask him or her to oppose HB353.
 
HB24 (the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, sponsored by Rep. Rich Wingo) protects child-placing organizations that have certain religious requirements from having to place children with couples that do not meet their agency's criteria.  This bill passed the House and Senate, and has now gone to Governor Ivey's office for her signature.  Governor Ivey has requested an executive amendment be added that we are currently studying.  As soon as we know whether or not this amendment is acceptable, we will let you know the bill's status and if there is action you may need to take.
 
Continue to pray for the Alabama Legislature and Governor Ivey.  There are only nine days left in the 2017 Legislative Session and the expected final day of the Session will be May 18.
                                                                                         

Legislative Update - Week 9

It was a very busy week. On Tuesday, the House passed HB354 (the Daily Fantasy Sports Bill). There was a great deal of confusion on the floor during the proceedings. First, it was announced by the Speaker that the Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR) vote, which requires two-thirds of the members voting in order to pass, had failed. [NOTE: The BIR is a procedural vote that allows for bills to come to the floor for debate. Until the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund Budgets are passed, all other bills must receive a BIR vote. Once the budgets are passed, the BIR vote is no longer necessary.]

Before the next bill was brought up, Rep. John Rogers called for "Reconsideration." A vote on a particular bill (or procedural vote) can be "reconsidered" one time within 24 hours of the first vote. The vote to reconsider passed, so the House members voted on the BIR a second time. This time the BIR again failed to pass according to the numbers on the monitor. Then, after much deliberation around the Speaker's desk, the Speaker announced that the voting machine was not functioning properly and after checking the individual votes, they had determined that the BIR did actually pass, so HB354 was brought up for debate.

During the lengthy debate a couple of good amendments, presented by Rep. Mike Jones, were passed. We are concerned that those amendments, which place greater restrictions on the Daily Fantasy Sports companies may be stripped from the bill in the Senate. When the vote on final passage of the bill was taken, the bill only passed by a narrow margin of 5 votes. You can click here to see how your House member voted.

HB354 now goes to the Senate. We need for a groundswell of people to contact their State Senator and encourage him/her to OPPOSE HB354. To understand how dangerous this online gambling bill is (even though proponents argue that it is not gambling), you can click here to read what Stop Predatory Gambling has written about this deceptive enterprise. You can also click here to watch the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary, Frontline, from 2016 about Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Forty-three minutes into the documentary, the producers interviewed a young man from Auburn, AL, Josh Adams, who lost $20,000 playing DFS. You can also read the New York Times story about Josh Adams by clicking here.

Another bill, HB277, sponsored by Rep. Pebblin Warren, would have required church daycares to be licensed by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and meet all of that department's minimum standards in order to operate. While everyone agreed that we want to protect the safety of children, many churches felt that this government intrusion into local church ministries was unnecessary. The problem that this bill was intended to address was "pop-up" daycares that were using the name of a church to avoid having to be licensed by DHR and then applying for federal and/or state assistance in order to make money. A compromise bill was presented on the floor by Rep. Jim Carns that will both protect children and protect the religious freedom of churches. Basically, the agreement was that daycares receiving government subsidies must be licensed whether they are a church or not. Also, DHR may do an annual inspection of all church daycares to make sure that children are being safely cared for. We are grateful to many who helped in reaching this compromise, but especially Eric Johnston (Southeast Law Institute and ALCAP's legal advisor), Robin Mears (executive director of the Alabama Christian Educators Association), Melanie Bridgeforth (executive director of VOICES for Alabama's Children) and all the legislators who worked hard to negotiate this agreement. Special thanks should go to Rep. Warren for bringing this important issue to everyone's attention.

To read the vote counts on HB277 and to see how your House member voted, click here. To read the final version of the bill, click here. The bill now goes to the Senate. We will keep you informed of any changes that might be made to the bill.

HB24 (the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act), sponsored by Rep. Rich Wingo, passed the Senate on Tuesday with one amendment, and now must go back to the House for concurrence (which we expect to take place on Tuesday, April 25). This bill protects church-affiliated adoption agencies from being required to place children for adoption in homes that do not comply with their religious views.

Three pro-life bills also passed the Senate on Thursday: HB96 (the Assisted Suicide Ban Act), sponsored by Rep. Mack Butler; HB95 (the Health Care Providers Protection Act), sponsored by Rep. Arnold Mooney; and HB98 (the "Alabama's Commitment to the Right to Life Constitutional Amendment"), sponsored by Rep. Matt Fridy [NOTE: HB98 is a constitutional amendment which will be on a statewide ballot in order to be ultimately approved by the voters of Alabama]. We celebrate the passage of HB24 and all three of the pro-life bills!
                                                                                                  

Legislative Update - Week 8

Rather than reporting on the past week (I'm not sure I can add anything to the news of the Governor's resignation), I want to focus attention on one bill that is on the Special Order calendar in the House next Tuesday, April 18.  House Bill (HB) 354 is the second bill on the calendar.  This bill, by Rep. Alan Boothe, will legalize online gambling in Alabama in the form of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).

Proponents argue that it is not gambling, but a game of skill.  However, many, including casino owners in Las Vegas, have stated that it IS gambling.  DFS is not season-long, league play between friends and family.  Rather, it is big business in which big companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel will be the biggest winners. Players compete against hundreds of thousands of people around the world and can play on a daily basis.

We need for church members and pastors to contact their House Members in large numbers!  If you can come to the Alabama State House on Tuesday and speak to your House Member personally, please do so!

To read the facts about Daily Fantasy Sports, click here.  Click here for a PBS documentary on Daily Fantasy Sports.  To find your House Member's contact information, click here.

PLEASE HELP US STOP THIS PRO-GAMBLING BILL!
                                                                                              

Legislative Update - Week 7

After two weeks of spring break, legislators returned to Montgomery on April 4. We are now half way through the session and so far, none of the pro-gambling bills have been advanced. We continue to hear that everyone is waiting for the Governor's Advisory Council on Gaming (Gambling) to make its report before proceeding with any gambling legislation. We expect that report to be ready by mid-April, which may be too late for any gambling bills to get passed during this session.

Having said that, the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) gambling bills have already passed out of committees in both the House (HB354) and Senate (SB270), but have not been placed on the calendars of either house for full floor debate. The Senate leaders have indicated they will not address this issue until the House passes a DFS bill, so we are watching the House very carefully. We will let you know if any movement takes place, but feel free to contact your House member and State Senator any time and let them know of your objection to these bills.

HB277 that requires church daycares to be licensed by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) continues to be undergoing "behind the scenes" negotiations. While everyone wants to protect children, there is also a concern about protecting the religious freedom of churches. We hope to be able to report that a compromise has been worked out before the bill is placed on the calendar in the House.

Marijuana legalization/commercialization is not moving in the legislature, but it has become a "hot topic" on social media and in the secular media in Alabama. Churches need to begin equipping themselves for this growing issue. ALCAP and our educational program, American Character Builders, have resources you can use to educate your church members on this issue. Sadly, even many church members are beginning to argue that people should be allowed to use marijuana for recreational purposes. We are quickly approaching a cultural mentality not unlike that of ancient Israel as described in the Book of Judges, "Every man did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6 and 21:25)

The pro-life bills passed in the House before spring break are currently making their way through the Senate. As soon as we know what day the Senate will take up these bills, we will let you know.

It is expected that this coming week the House will spend much of its time engaged in the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley. Be in prayer for everyone involved in this issue. Pray for Governor Bentley and his staff. Pray for the House members as they seek to make the right decisions. Pray for the senators, if they are called on to try the impeachment case. Pray for Lt. Governor Kay Ivey and her staff in the event she assumes the duties of the Governor. Pray for our state as we all struggle through this serious issue.
                                                                        

Legislative Update - Week 6

This week in the Alabama Legislature might be one of the most significant weeks in recent years!  Most weeks during the Regular Session there are only two legislative days, plus a day or two of committee meetings.  This week there were three legislative days, and on the last day, the Alabama House of Representatives passed the following four important pro-life bills:

HB98 (sponsored by Rep. Matt Fridy) is a constitutional amendment that the people of Alabama must approve.  If passed by the Senate and by the voters on a state-wide ballot, this amendment will constitutionalize Alabama's commitment to the right of life of unborn children.

HB95 (the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act, sponsored by Rep. Arnold Mooney) will protect health care providers who decline to perform services that violate their consciences.  There are exceptions included in the legislation. 

HB96 (the Assisted Suicide Ban Act, sponsored by Rep. Mack Butler) will make it illegal for individuals or health care providers to provide aid in dying under certain conditions.

HB24 (the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, sponsored by Rep. Rich Wingo) will prohibit the state from discriminating against child care service providers under certain conditions.
 
Now these bills must go to the Senate for a vote.  As a constitutional amendment, HB98, if it passes the Senate will not go to the Governor's desk, but will go directly on a future ballot for the people of Alabama to decide.  The other bills, if they pass the Senate, will go to the Governor for his signature.  Please call your State Senator and ask him/her to vote YES on all four of these bills.
 
In other news, HB277 (sponsored by Rep. Pebblin Warren) has been carried over until various parties can work out a compromise that will both protect children and the religious freedom of churches.  We will keep you posted as decisions are made.
 
HB353 (sponsored by Rep. Juandalynn Givan) did not receive enough votes to be brought to the floor of the House for a vote.  This bill would have allowed alcohol to be sold on Sundays, beginning at 10:30 a.m. instead of the current time of 12:00 noon.  ALCAP spoke against this bill in a public hearing and we are grateful that enough House members realized that this bill is not good for the people of Alabama.  It can come up again, but only after both the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund Budgets have passed both houses (which doesn't usually happen until near the end of the legislative session).
 
Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support of ALCAP.  Please call your legislators and thank them for their votes on the pro-life bills. We hope to have the voting record for each pro-life bill at a later date..
                                                                                                                                                       

Legislative Update - Week 5

Week #5 of the Alabama Legislature was one of the busiest so far this 2017 Session and there is much to report, but before I do, I want to share with you important information about this upcoming week.  Thursday, March 16, 2017, has been designated as “PRO-LIFE DAY” at the Alabama Legislature.  On that day, the House of Representatives will be working to pass several important pro-life bills.  

We are coordinating with House leadership, to have a presence inside the statehouse.  We need as many people as possible to be there that day.  People need to call on their House member and sit in the gallery or overflow rooms to watch the debate.  We do not yet know what time the House will begin.  We will let you know as soon as they set the time.  The day is likely to be long, so people need to come anytime they can, they do not need to be there all day.  Please alert everyone in your database and in your church to this event and follow up.  We need to show the House we respect their willingness to move these pro-life bills.  This may be the most important day of the session.  If we do not make a good showing, it will damage our cause.  Thank you for you help.

This past week ALCAP was able to present information on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) online gambling to two different committees.  The Senate committee indicated they will not act on the bill until it passes the House.  The House committee did not vote to send their version of the bill to the full House on the day of the public hearing, but we anticipate that they will do so, possibly next week.  It is important for everyone to let their House member and state Senator know that they oppose this legislation.  If you have not already contacted your legislators about the Daily Fantasy Sports online gambling issue, please contact him or her as soon as possible.  For more information on DFS, watch the documentary from PBS and click here for the Stop Predatory Gambling’s white paper on the subject.

A bill that would lower the penalties for marijuana use in Alabama was scheduled to have a public hearing, but the sponsor, Rep. Patricia Todd, was ill, so that public hearing has been postponed.  ALCAP did speak at a public hearing on a bill that would allow Sunday alcohol sales in municipalities and counties where it is legal to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings instead of the current 12:00 noon start time.  Having alcohol available only six days a week is not enough, and now, apparently, waiting until noon to start selling it on Sundays is not enough!  (Of course, I’m being facetious!)  With no regard for the destructive nature of alcohol, “ Big Alcohol” will not be satisfied until unlimited alcohol (a mind-altering and addictive drug, mind you) is available 24/7 and in every square inch of the state of Alabama.  And, consider this: The same will happen with marijuana and gambling.  Whenever we “give in” to these addictive “products,” they always want more!  And, who
 suffers? — We all do, but especially families and children!

We had hoped to work out a compromise on HB277 that would protect children, while also protecting religious freedom and the separation of church and state. HB277 would require church day cares to be licensed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).  When Eric Johnston, our legal advisor, and Robin Mears, executive director of the Alabama Christian Educators Association, met with the VOICES for Alabama's Children representatives and others, no compromise was reached.  Though our representatives worked in good faith to solve the problem, some on the other side were unwilling to negotiate in good faith.  However, our recommendations have been taken to the legal department of DHR and we are awaiting their response.  We hope they will agree with our propo
sals and we can solve this dilemma.  However, if they do not agree, ALCAP will join other groups in opposing HB277.  We will keep you updated as this process continues.

I beg you to be engaged in our culture!  Know what is going on in your own community, as well as the state and national level.  Stand up and speak out for everything that is good and 
right, and oppose the forces of evil around us.  God has called His people to be “salt & light!”

At our annual ALCAP Board meeting on Tuesday of this past week, we presented former state Senator, Hank Erwin, with this year’s "ALCAP Dan Ireland Salt & Light Award.”  We are grateful for Sen. Erwin’s service to our state and, since leaving the legislature, his efforts to promote the family-values motion pictures produced by his two sons (such as “October Baby,” “Mom’s Night Out,” and most recently, “Woodlawn”).



                                                                                                                 

Help ALCAP Generate Calls in Opposition to HB364

House Bill (HB) 354, Daily Fantasy Sports Bill, sponsored by Rep. Alan Boothe, will be in the House State Government Committee this Wednesday, March 8, at 3:00 p.m., in the State House Room #429.

Your legislators need to hear from you!!!  As Sen. Tom Whatley states in an article from the Opelika-Auburn News, he has heard from 200 people who want it legalized and only one person who opposes it. Please help me generate calls in opposition!  Click here to find your legislator's contact information.

To read about the dangers of Daily Fantasy Sports, click here for a report from Stop Predatory Gambling. Click here for a PBS documentary on Daily Fantasy Sports. Please share this info with others and call your state legislator's today!!!
                                                                                        

Legislative Update - Week 4

On Wednesday, March 1, the Senate Tourism & Marketing Committee was supposed to hold a public hearing on SB28 (sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley) which would legalize internet/online gambling in the form of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).  The meeting was cancelled and "rumor has it" that this bill is not the one that the DFS companies want.  So, two new DFS bills have been introduced in both the Senate (SB270, sponsored by Sen. Paul Sanford) and in the House (HB354, sponsored by Rep. Alan Boothe).  This is not seasonal (or league) fantasy sports played between friends and family - this is DAILY Fantasy Sports, played by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, in which people often lose thousands of dollars every day!  DFS, if legalized, would essentially put a casino in the homes and on the mobile devises of every citizen in Alabama, including children and young people.
 
Last year, the Attorney General's office banned DFS from being played in Alabama and the Alabama House of Representatives could not get enough votes to pass the legislation to make it legal, but now the push to legalize it has been renewed. This push to legalize DFS is taking place in state legislatures across the nation because companies, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, stand to make millions of dollars by deceiving people into believing that they can be "big winners."  States that have Class III gambling (lotteries and/or casinos) have either banned DFS or they have required the companies to meet the same standards as other forms of gambling, acknowledging that DFS is, indeed, gambling.
 
I would encourage you to watch the documentary, "The Fantasy Sports Gamble" on the PBS program, "Frontline," (produced last year) to learn more about the addictive nature of DFS.  About 43 minutes and 15 seconds into the program, there is an interview with a young man from Auburn, AL who lost $20,000 playing DFS.  You can click here to watch the documentary.  After watching the program, call your legislators and let them know of your opposition to SB 28, SB270 and HB354. To read more about the dangers of DFS, click here for a report from www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
 
Other pro-gambling bills are "on hold" until the Governor's Advisory Council on Gaming (Gambling) makes their final report and recommendations.  We anticipate that the last half of the Regular Session (which will come after the first of April) will see a flurry of activity focused on gambling.  Legislators are still telling me that the vast majority of people from whom they are hearing are in favor of legalizing a state-sponsored lottery.  It is important that those who oppose state-sponsored lotteries and state-sanctioned casinos, as well as Daily Fantasy Sports online/internet gambling, contact their legislators and get others to do the same.
 
On a different issue, ALCAP worked this week with the Alabama Christian Education Association's executive director, Robin Mears, and our own ALCAP legal advisor, Eric Johnston, to protect both children and religious freedom in this state.  Rep. Pebblin Warren has introduced a bill (HB277) that will require church daycare programs to be licensed by the state.  We commend Rep. Warren for wanting to protect children and their parents from "fly-by-night" daycares that are being established in the name of "bogus" or "pseudo" churches, but we also want to protect legitimate churches from government overreach into the ministries of those local churches.  Mr. Johnston and Mr. Mears believe there is a better solution to the problem than to require church daycare ministries to be licensed by the state.  We are working with Rep. Warren and other organizations that are concerned about this issue to come up with a bill that will accomplish both goals.
 
Continue to pray for and contact your legislators as the 2017 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature moves forward.
                                                                                                                      

Legislative Update - Week 3

This past Wednesday, several pro-alcohol bills were presented in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee (or as we kiddingly refer to it, "The Vice Committee"). Two of the bills were carried over, one of which would have allowed wineries to sell their product even though they were located in a dry county (on the condition that there is at least one wet municipality in the county, which means ALL dry counties, since every dry county now has at least one wet municipality). I met with the sponsor of the bill and explained that the reason municipal options were legalized was because rural citizens in these counties kept voting to "stay dry." Since wineries would be located in rural areas, this would be offensive to those living in these dry counties. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lynn Greer, decided to reintroduce his bill as a local bill that would only apply to a county in his district. If you live in Rep. Greer's district, you need to let him know of your opposition to this legislation (which does not yet have a bill number).

The other alcohol-related bill that was carried over was a bill allowing wine tasting in grocery stores. Both the House bill and the companion Senate bill were carried over after representatives of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board told the sponsors of the bills that the ABC Board could handle the situation by existing regulations without a new law being imposed.

Two other alcohol-related bills involved community developments. One of these bills (HB47, sponsored by Rep. James Buskey) will allow a community development located in both a wet county and a dry county to sell alcohol at their restaurant, which will be located on the dry county side of the development. The other bill (HB57, sponsored by Rep. Ron Johnson) will allow Sunday alcohol sales at a community development that is located in a wet county, but does not allow Sunday alcohol sales. ALCAP called for public hearings on each bill and we explained that in both cases, they were allowing for alcohol sales in an area and on a day that the people of those counties had not voted to allow. Both bills were given a "favorable report" in spite of our request for "NO" votes, and will now go to the full House for debate and a vote.

The Senate Health Committee gave a favorable report to SB145, the Child Placing Inclusion Act, sponsored by Sen. Bill Hightower. This bill, if passed, will protect faith-based adoption agencies from being told by the government with whom they can or cannot place children for adoption. Though the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning) activists spoke out against the bill in the public hearing, the bill still received a favorable report and will go to the full Senate for a vote. The companion bill, HB24, sponsored by Rep. Rich Wingo, was given a favorable vote last week in the House Health Committee. Which ever version of the bill passes its respective house first will go to the second house for a vote. Let your legislators know that you want a "YES" vote on HB24 and/or SB145, the Child Placing Inclusion Act.

Daily Fantasy Sports continues to be an issue that we believe is gaining momentum. Sen. Tom Whatley has already introduced SB28 that would legalize this form of internet gambling and we expect it to be in committee very soon. If you live in Sen. Whatley's district, let him know of your opposition to SB28 (Daily Fantasy Sports). Josh Adams, an Auburn, AL resident is featured in a PBS documentary on Daily Fantasy Sports. Mr. Adams lost a large sum of money gambling through the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) online companies. If you know Mr. Adams personally, I would love to talk with him. Sen. Whatley told me that he, too, would like to talk with Mr. Adams. To view the documentary, click here (Josh Adams' interview comes at the 43:15 point in the movie). To read more about the dangers of DFS, click here for a report from www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.

After the close of the legislative day on Thursday, February 23, the Governor's Advisory Council on Gaming (should be "Gambling") met once again. This time they heard from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians about what might be involved if the State should enter into a compact with the Tribe. During the discussion, it was interesting to note that Tribal leaders admitted that the difference between Class II bingo machines and Class III slot machines is negligible. This is what the Alabama Supreme Court has determined as true in several recent rulings, and that is why the so-called "electronic bingo machines" continue to be illegal in the State of Alabama. However, because the U.S. Department of Interior will not enforce the law that says Tribes cannot have any form of gambling not permitted by the state in which they are located, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians continues to operate their bingo/slot machines.

We will keep you informed as the Advisory Council continues its work. It's next meeting will be on March 9 and they will be hearing that day from lottery and casino operators and owners. We have been told that ALCAP will have an opportunity at the meeting after the next one (the date has not been decided) to present our case one last time.

Remember that we are engaged in a spiritual war and prayer is our most important weapon, so pray for us! But, also, remember that God may want to use you as an answer to prayer, so take action by contacting your legislators and letting them know where you stand on alcohol and gambling! (Click here to find your legislators and their contact information.)
                                                                                                              

Legislative Update - Week 2

The second week of the 2017 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature is now complete.  House Bill 70 (HB70), sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole passed out of committee and will go to the full House for a vote.  This bill lowers the age of majority from 19 to 18 years, but it originally included an exception for tobacco products, which would remain at 19 years old.  However, the original bill did not include an exception for alcohol.  The sponsor agreed to offer a substitute bill with language that keeps the purchase, possession and/or use of alcoholic beverages limited to age 21 and above.  We are grateful for Rep. Poole making sure that this correction was made before passing the bill out of committee.
 
Next week, the House Economic Development and Tourism (ED&T) Committee will hold public hearings on four alcohol-related bills and ALCAP plans to speak against each bill.  HB47 will allow a community development that meets certain criteria to sell alcoholic beverages even though part of the development will be located in a dry county.  According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. James Buskey, there was a mistake in last year's legislation and this bill simply corrects that error.
 
HB57, sponsored by Rep. Ron Johnson will allow an already existing community/commercial development district that is located in a wet county, but one that does not allow Sunday alcohol sales, to have Sunday alcohol sales within the commercial district.
 
HB133, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Greer, will make it legal for a winery to operate in a dry county that has at least one wet municipality.  This is the most egregious of the bills in committee this coming week.  Wineries are located in rural areas, and yet it is the rural populations of these dry counties that have voted not to legalize alcoholic beverages.  "Big Alcohol" continues to force this mind-altering drug into the lives of individuals and families, even in areas where the citizens have voted NO to alcohol sales.  Please let the members of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee know of your opposition to HB133!  CLICK HERE for a list of the committee members and their contact information.
 
HB134, sponsored by Rep. David Faulkner, would allow tasting of wine and beer in grocery stores that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.  That's all we need! People drinking and then driving out of the crowded grocery store parking lots with children in the area!  Again, we urge you to contact the members of the House ED&T Committee and urge them to oppose this bill, as well.
 
For now, gambling seems to be on the "back burner."  As soon as the Governor's Advisory Council on Gaming (Gambling) completes its report, which could come before the end of the 2017 Regular Session, we expect a flurry of activity to get pro-gambling bills passed.  We will keep you posted as events unfold.
 
Continue to pray for the legislators, lobbyists and staff of the Alabama Legislature.
                                                                                                      

legislative Update - Week 1

All three of the bills (HB24-Adoption-Rep. Rich Wingo; HB95-Conscience- Rep. Arnold Mooney; HB96-Suicide- Rep. Mack Butler) that are being backed by ALCAP and the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition (APLC) were reported out of the Alabama House Health Committee this week, after public hearings on each.

A third bill, not on the APLC agenda, making a public policy statement that Alabama recognizes the unborn, also passed.  We are asking for a "Pro-Life Day" for all of the bills to come up on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives.  Senator Bill Hightower has also dropped SB145, on adoption, a companion bill to HB24, in the Senate.  Other Senators should be dropping companion bills to the other pro-life House bills in the next few days.  Please ask fellow pastors and church members to thank the sponsors and Rep. April Weaver, chairperson of the House Health Committee.
 
Pro-gambling bills appear to be on hold until the Governor's Advisory Council on Gaming (Gambling) makes its final report.  We expect this to come before the end of the 2017 Session, though the deadline for the Council's report is not until after the session has ended.  ALCAP will keep you updated as information becomes available.  However, a Daily Fantasy Sports bill (SB28), sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley, has been introduced and may begin to move through the Senate before the Advisory Council reports.  This bill, if passed, would essentially legalize online gambling in Alabama.  For more information on this issue, click here for the document Daily Fantasy Sports Fact Sheet or visit the Stop Predatory Gambling website www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
 
Rep. Bill Poole introduced a bill that lowers the age of majority from 19 to 18 years of age.  There was an exception made for tobacco that kept the purchase, use and possession of tobacco products at age 19 (the current law), but nothing in the bill clarified that the purchase, use or possession of alcohol would remain at the age of 21, as the current law states.  ALCAP communicated our concerns about that with the bill's sponsor, and he is having the bill redrafted to include the appropriate language to keep alcohol use, etc. at the current age of 21 and above.
 
There are several Sunday alcohol sale bills being introduced.  All of these are local bills and are being driven by city councils and county commissioners.  It is important that pastors and church leaders contact your city council members, county commissioners and state representatives and senators and urge them to oppose Sunday alcohol sales.  Many of these bills will allow Sunday alcohol sales by a simple vote of the city council or county commission, without a vote of the people.
 
ALCAP offers congratulations to Alabama's own Jeff Sessions as our new United States Attorney General and to Luther Strange as Alabama's new U.S. Senator.  Pray for these men and their families.  Also, pray that God's will be done as a new Alabama Attorney General is appointed.
                                                                                                                                 

ALCAP Alert Dated 2/6/2017

Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) has pre-filed Senate Bill 28 (SB28).  This bill will legalize online gambling in the form of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).

Contrary to the arguments from the big DFS companies, this is Class III gambling, which may open the door for full-fledged casino gambling in Alabama.

Unlike regular fantasy sports, played by friends and family for the length of an entire season, DFS is played online around the world and an individual can lose thousands of dollars in one day!  (For the facts on DFS, visit the  Stop Predatory Gambling website or click here.)
 
Call Sen. Whatley today and urge him not to push this bill.  Also, contact your Senator and House Member and ask them to oppose ALL pro-gambling bills, INCLUDING the Daily Fantasy Sports bill(s).
                                                                                                                         
ALCAP Alert Dated 8/26/2016

SB3 died in the Senate today as the Senate voted NOT to concur with the House version of the bill.  As we suspected, when the House amended the bill to exclude casinos, that is not what the pro-gambling people wanted.
 
The truth finally came out and is reflected in the attached vote count with 7 for concurrence (YES) and 23 against concurrence (NO).  There were different motives for voting NO, but at this point we are celebrating the defeat of pro-gambling legislation in Alabama!
 
Please contact the Senators that voted NO to concur and thank them.  Also, urge them to vote in favor of the BP Settlement, so that gambling will not be needed to solve the Medicaid problem in our state.
                                                                                                                                           

ALCAP Alert Dated 8/25/2016

The Alabama Legislature is in chaos and needs our prayers!  The deadline for getting a bill to the Secretary of State in order to have a lottery vote on the November ballot was Wednesday night, August 24, 2016, at midnight, a deadline that has past without the lottery bill being voted out of the House.  However, pro-gambling forces are now arguing that this is not true and the courts may become involved in forcing the Secretary of State to get the constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

If that does not work, the Legislature could come back for another special session and change the law to allow the lottery amendment on the November ballot.  Such action would only require a simple majority vote in each house and the signature of the Governor.  All of this is why it is important to stop SB3 (the Governor’s lottery bill) in the House of Representatives TODAY!

Please contact your House Member and urge a NO vote on SB3!  Even if you have already contacted him/her, please keep the pressure on.  Call your friends and neighbors (who oppose the lottery) and enlist them to contact their House Member.  Use social media to educate people on the detrimental impact of a state-sponsored lottery.  The Alabama Policy Institute and ALCAP have been circulating articles and video clips on social media for you to share.  Also, you can find information to use in your personal posts at www.ALCAP.com and www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.

IMPORTANT: The word “lottery” is not defined in SB3 and since the Alabama Supreme Court has, in past case law, defined a lottery as “any game of chance,” if the people of Alabama vote to legalize a lottery, the Alabama Legislature can come back and pass enabling legislation that includes casino gambling.  This fact is why we believe the gambling bosses from the dog tracks in Alabama are driving this constitutional amendment.  They stand to make millions of dollars and they will stop at nothing to deceive the people of Alabama into giving them what they want.

If SB3 passes the House, it will have to go back to the Senate for concurrence, since it has already been amended.  Then, we may need to start contacting State Senators again in order to urge a NO CONCURRENCE vote.  If they do not concur, then the bill will go to a Conference Committee made up of members of the House and Senate and a compromise bill (which could include anything they want) could be sent back to the House and Senate for a concurrence vote.  There is still time to stop this push for gambling expansion in Alabama, but it requires the citizens of Alabama to be engaged and communicating with legislators and educating themselves, their friends and their neighbors.

Please do whatever you can to help, but most of all, PRAY for God to intervene!
                                                                                                                                     

ALCAP Alert Dated 8/17/2016

Senate Tourism Committee reconvened this afternoon (Wednesday, August 17) to reconsider SB26 (Constitutional Amendment to require the Governor to sign a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians) and SB34 (similar to Sen. McClendon's lottery bill, SB11, which includes electronic gambling devices, but reallocates where the money goes).  ALCAP opposes both of these gambling bills, as well as the other gambling bills voted out of committee yesterday, but both were voted out of committee by voice vote.
 
Full Senate is currently debating SB11, Sen. McClendon's lottery bill that also allows video lottery terminals at the 4 dog tracks throughout the state.  Pray for gambling opponents as they stand firm and continue to contact your State Senator urging a "NO" vote on all pro-gambling bills!

Click here for talking points you can use when speaking with your legislator.

Click here to find your Senator or House Member.

If you would like more information place your cursor over the "Current Issues" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab or place your cursor over the "Links" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab. You may also visit the Stop Predatory Gambling website at www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
                                                                                                

ALCAP Alert Dated 8/16/2016


ALCAP legal advisor, Eric Johnston, speaking at the public hearing on the five proposed Senate Bills presented to the Senate Tourism Committee.

Senate Tourism Committee just voted to advance only two of the five pro-gambling bills to the full Senate.  SB3, the Governor's pure lottery bill and SB11, Senator McClendon's bill that allows electronic video lottery terminals at the four dog tracks throughout the state and according to the Attorney General could lead to casino gambling, were the two bills that passed by voice vote (no roll call vote).
 
Now, those two bills will be debated on the floor of the Senate, possibly as early as tomorrow.  Pray and contact your State Senator to urge him or her to oppose SB3 and SB11!
 
Click here for talking points you can use when speaking with your legislator.

Click here to find your Senator or House Member.

If you would like more information place your cursor over the "Current Issues" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab or place your cursor over the "Links" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab. You may also visit the Stop Predatory Gambling website at www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
                                                                                                 

ALCAP Alert Dated 8/15/2016

With the Alabama Legislature convening today, Monday, August 15, for a Special Session to discuss legalizing a state-sponsored lottery in Alabama, the Senate Tourism Committee meeting has been scheduled.   The gambling bills are expected to be in the Senate Tourism Committee on Tuesday, August 16, at 10:30 a.m. in room 325 (time and location subject to change). 

I am appealing to pastors and denominational leaders to be at the Alabama State House on Tuesday morning between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to visit with your Senator and House Member.  Even though the Senate Tourism Committee will not meet until 10:30 a.m., I want to encourage you to visit the offices of your House Member and State Senator, encouraging him/her to oppose all pro-gambling bills or not vote at all.  Proponents will need 3/5 of the House and 3/5 of the Senate to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment, so abstaining will have the same impact as a no vote.
 
The gambling proponents will be at the State House in large numbers, so we need pastors, denominational leaders and any key business people from each district to be there and putting pressure on the legislators to oppose gambling.  If you cannot come to Montgomery on Tuesday, come on Wednesday or Thursday.  We need as many people as possible walking the halls and talking to legislators about how gambling is a failed government policy.
 
Click here for talking points you can use when speaking with your legislator.

Click here to find your Senator or House Member.

If you would like more information place your cursor over the "Current Issues" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab or place your cursor over the "Links" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab. You may also visit the Stop Predatory Gambling website at www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
                                                                                                   

ALCAP Alert Dated 8/11/2016


With the Alabama Legislature convening on Monday, August 15, for a Special Session to discuss legalizing a state-sponsored lottery in Alabama, the details of their schedule are still uncertain.  However, here is what I anticipate:  They go into session at 4:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon, but the only thing they can do is introduce bills.  Even with the House electing a new Speaker, the meeting day should be brief.  I will be in Montgomery Monday afternoon to talk with legislators as they arrive.
 
If they follow the usual procedure, committees will meet the next day, Tuesday, August 16, in order to pass out of committee the bills introduced the day before. We will try to call for public hearings in both the House and Senate committees, but at this point we do not know to what committees the lottery bills will be assigned. As soon as we find out the committee meeting times and locations, we will let our ALCAP family know.
 
Since there is a level of uncertainty, I am appealing to pastors and denominational leaders to be at the Alabama State House on Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. (as soon as the doors open).  Even if the committees do not meet until later in the day (or even on a different day), I want to encourage you to visit the offices of your House Member and State Senator, encouraging him/her to oppose all pro-gambling bills or not vote at all.  Proponents will need 3/5 of the House and 3/5 of the Senate to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment, so abstaining will have the same impact as a no vote.
 
The gambling proponents will be at the State House in large numbers, so we need pastors, denominational leaders and any key business people from each district to be there and putting pressure on the legislators to oppose gambling.  If you cannot come to Montgomery on Tuesday, come on Wednesday or Thursday.  We need as many people as possible walking the halls and talking to legislators about how gambling is a failed government policy.
 
Click here for talking points you can use when speaking with your legislator.

Click here to find your Senator or House Member.

If you would like more information place your cursor over the "Current Issues" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab or place your cursor over the "Links" tab to the left then click on the "Gambling" tab. You may also visit the Stop Predatory Gambling website at www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
                                                                                                     

ALCAP Alert Dated 8/4/2016


Commentary on the lottery from ALCAP Board Member Don Wallace, CPA


We must call into question how much the lottery will siphon from the Education Trust Fund, etc. and tell Alabama Legislators NO. 

For example, if I spend $100 on goods then $4 in Sales Tax Revenue goes to schools. If I now spend $25 of that money on a "get-rich-quick" lottery scheme, then only $3 goes to the Education Trust Fund.

Based on the Governors "lofty expectations" this would mean $12 million dollars in tax revenue diverted from the Education Trust Fund, as well as the lost revenue to local cities, counties, and local school tax revenues generated from the other 5-6% of sales tax that doesn't go to the state.

EASILY, THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN DIVERTS AT LEAST $30 MILLION FROM
THE EDUCATION TRUST FUND AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS.

Speaking from client experience, the lottery hurts the small business as people stop spending money on such things as cokes, Gatorade and food and divert that to a lottery ticket where they make a much smaller margin.

From a personal, anecdotal perspective, we just went to Florida recently and all those stores in Florida right next to Florala have closed - so much for "lottery" business.

We also went to Orlando and it is amazing that from just south of Dothan to Orlando you can hardly see a lottery sign anywhere - BUT travel on one of the older thoroughfares going into downtown Orlando and you will see lottery advertisements targeted at the poor people who need to play the lottery the least. 

Sincerely,

Don Wallace
Certified Public Accountant
Northport, Alabama
                                                                                                                          

ALCAP ALERT Dated 7/29/2016

Governor Bentley announced this morning that he is calling for the Special Session of the Alabama Legislature to consider a constitutional amendment allowing Alabama to vote on a state-sponsored lottery will begin August 15.

Please contact your House Member and State Senator and let them know that you oppose this government scheme that has failed in every state where it has been enacted!

I am asking you to do the following:
 
1) Contact your House Member and State Senator and ask him/her to oppose any pro-gambling legislation during the Special Session and get others to do the same.
 
2) Order the EDUCATION EDITION of a new documentary entitled, "OUT OF LUCK."  Be sure to order the EDUCATION EDITION because that version drops the sound when foul language is used.  The original version contains some offensive language at different times during the movie.  The movie is 1 hour and 45 minutes, but every church and every legislator in Alabama should see this movie, so invite your legislators to watch the movie with you.  We have purchased about 50 copies of the EDUCATION VERSION of the "OUT OF LUCK" DVD and if you want to order from us, the cost is $24.99 + shipping (our cost; ALCAP will get nothing out of this; the education version costs more than the original version which can be purchased on amazon.com or iTunes).  Click here to contact the ALCAP office to request a copy of the education edition of the video.  If you would like to order the education edition directly from Amazon, click here.
 
Remember, we will not be voting on just selling lottery tickets in Alabama.  Several years ago the Alabama Supreme Court defined a lottery as "any game of chance."  That means that if the people of Alabama pass a Constitutional Amendment legalizing a lottery, the Alabama Legislature can come back and pass enabling legislation that legalizes casinos throughout the state.

Also, the Legislature will come back every year wanting to expand the gambling options because people get addicted and want more options, and because the revenue from each form of gambling diminishes over time.  This is what has happened in every state that has passed lottery legislation!
 
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!  PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS AND BEGIN TO TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THIS ISSUE!

You can find information about lotteries and casino gambling on the links and current issues tab to the left or www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.

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