ALCAP Alert

2021 Alabama Legislative Session – Plan to Bring Gambling Bills Up for Debate in Senate on April 6, 2021

ALCAP has learned that the Alabama Senate plans to bring one or more lottery bills to the floor for debate tomorrow, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Please contact your Alabama State Senator TODAY and let him/her know of your opposition to any and all gambling bills. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

Along with this urgent request for action, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Glenn Murdock has updated his audio statement on the gambling issue. We included his original audio statement in our email last week, but I would encourage you to listen to this updated version and share it with others. Click here for a transcript of the audio statement that you can read and share with others.

I apologize for overloading you with emails, but the gambling situation is very fluid and changing quickly.

Again, PLEASE COPY AND PASTE THIS EMAIL AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS IN YOUR CIRCLE OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND CONTACT YOUR ALABAMA STATE SENATOR TODAY (APRIL 6) OR TOMORROW MORNING (APRIL 7) BEFORE THE SENATE GOES INTO SESSION AT 2:30PM.

The bills that may be considered on the Senate floor include the following:

SB309SB310 and SB311 are the enabling bills associated with Sen. Del Marsh’s original gambling bill (SB214) that was defeated before the Legislature went on Spring Break. These enabling bills were passed out of the Senate Tourism Committee AFTER SB214 failed, which indicates that the Sen. Marsh believes the casinos in his original bill may be included in amendments to the “lottery only” bills.

SB319 and SB320 are the “lottery only” bills introduced by Sen. Jim McClendon. These bills, as stated earlier, may be amended to include casinos before either bill is passed out of both legislative houses.

Even if a “lottery only” bill is ultimately passed without including casinos, the Poarch Creek Indians could use its passage to demand that a compact be signed allowing them to have full-fledged casinos at their current locations and add one or two new casinos in the state.

ACTION ALERT:

  1. I encourage you to listen to and share the updated audio statement by Glenn Murdock with everyone you know.

Contact your Alabama State Senator and strongly encourage him/her to oppose any and all pro-gambling bills. Be courteous, but be adamant that we do NOT want gambling expanded in Alabama! Polling, which legislators keep using to argue for passage of some form of gambling expansion, is skewed. I have talked with individuals who have been polled and the way the questions are worded can result in an interpretation that favors gambling even if the person being polled is not in favor of gambling expansion. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

Legislative Update 3/19/2021 Week 6

Gambling

Sen. Garlan Gudger’s lottery bill (SB318) was withdrawn from the Senate Tourism Committee on Wednesday of this week, but the sponsor and committee chairman (Sen. Del Marsh) acknowledged that it could be brought back at any point “if needed” (their words).

Sen. Jim McClendon’s lottery bills (SB319 and SB320) were passed out of committee on Wednesday and had their second reading on the Senate floor Thursday morning. He did amend his bills to take out the video lottery terminals (VLTs, which are slot machines that supposedly play the lottery), but his bills still call for a vote of the people to legalize a state-sponsored lottery.

Sen. Marsh’s “enabling legislation” bills (SB309, SB310 and SB311) that are written to detail how his original bill (SB214) that calls for a state-sponsored lottery and several state-sanctioned casinos, as well as requiring a compact be signed with the Poarch Creek Indians, allowing them to have full-fledged casinos and build at least one additional casino, were passed out of the Senate Tourism Committee and had their second reading on Thursday on the Senate Floor. Sen. Marsh said he wanted to pass these bills “in case” they were needed later. This leads many of us to believe that he fully intends for the original legislation that was contained in SB214 to come back in some form. Otherwise, there was no need to pass enabling legislation.

The battle over gambling has NOT ended. Everyone must stay vigilant. In press reports following the defeat of Sen. Marsh’s SB214 week before last, Marsh admitted that pastors calling the offices of their senators DID have an impact on his gambling bill being defeated. This shows how important it is for pastors and church members to flood the email boxes and phone lines of their state senators, encouraging them to vote NO on ANY and ALL gambling bills.

As stated above, we believe that even the so-called “lottery only” bills will be used to reinsert full-fledged casino gambling into the legislation, so we must not become complacent. There are plenty of reasons to oppose a “simple lottery only” bill, but ALCAP continues to maintain that any lottery bill will eventually result in casinos, sports betting and online gambling.

ACTION ALERT: Please contact your Alabama State Senator and encourage him/her to vote NO on ANY and ALL pro-gambling bills, including SB309, SB310, SB311, SB318, SB319 and SB320. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

Pro-Life

ALCAP congratulates Rep. Ginny Shaver (R-Leesburg) on getting HB237 passed in the House. This bill is often referred to as the “Born Alive Bill.” The bill states that physicians have a duty to care for babies who are born alive after a failed abortion and establishes criminal penalties for not doing so. The bill now goes to the Senate and ALCAP urges a YES vote by the senators.

Vulnerable Child Accountability and Protection Act (VCAP)

SB10 has passed the Senate and we are still waiting for it to get to the floor of the House for a vote. Continue to pray that this bill will pass. It protects children from receiving hormone blockers or surgery specifically for the purpose of trying to change their sex.

Yoga

As we shared in last week’s update, HB246, the Yoga bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Gray, passed the full House. It has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and we expect it to be on the agenda for that committee on March 31, after the Legislature returns from spring break. ALCAP is urging a NO vote by the state senators on HB246.

“Medical” Marijuana

SB46, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson, which already passed the Senate, is still waiting to be voted out of two House committees before going to the full House for debate. There is still time to contact your Alabama House Member and ask him/her to vote NO on SB46. Click here if you know your State House Member’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

Alcohol

Alcohol-related bills continue to make their way through both houses. We have voiced our concerns about expanding the availability of alcohol in the state, but most legislators don’t seem to care about making alcohol (a mind-altering and addictive drug) more and more available. No wonder our state is seeing more and more alcohol-related problems including under-age drinking, drunk driving, etc. The Alabama Legislature will be on spring break the week of March 22-26, so there will be no ALCAP Legislative Update next week.

Legislative Update 3/12/2021 Week 5

Gambling

Well, apparently, many Alabama Senators are obsessed with gambling. The lottery/casino bill failed to garner enough votes this week to pass out of the Alabama Senate, so immediately SIX new lottery bills were introduced. Senate Bill 309 (SB309), SB310 and SB311 were introduced by Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston); SB318 was introduced by Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman); and SB319 and SB320 were introduced by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville). Marsh’s bills were meant to be enabling legislation for SB214 had it passed and some believe the original bill could come back. Some of the lottery bills are for a lottery “only,” but involve Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) that are like slot machines and could be placed all over the state in restaurants and convenience stores. It is likely, too, that handheld devices could be used to “play the lottery.” All of this will make gambling pervasive in the state.

In addition, if a constitutional amendment is passed that legalizes a state-sponsored lottery, this could incentivize the Poarch Creek Indians to demand that a compact be signed allowing them to have full-fledged casinos and perhaps add one or two more casinos in the state that would be under their jurisdiction.

The gambling bosses are not giving up and going away quietly! We must continue to flood the phones and email boxes of Alabama senators asking them to oppose ALL gambling bills!

Sen. Del Marsh admitted to AL.com that pastors and church members calling their state senators made a difference in changing some of the votes on his expansive gambling bill.

We must not give up fighting for family values in our state! We must not allow the Alabama Legislature to add a new bureaucracy (“Gambling Commission”), target the poorest citizens of our state with fraudulent promises of “striking it rich,” while letting gambling bosses and lottery management companies run our state, and we must not allow the legislators to become dependent on gambling revenues to finance state government and then having to “prop up” the gambling enterprises later when the revenues begin to decline. (The state of New York is considering a bail out of the casinos in their state because they are not bringing in as much money as they promised and they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Click here to read the article about this.)

ACTION ALERT: Call your Alabama Senator TODAY and ask him/her to vote NO on ALL gambling bills! Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

“Medical’ Marijuana

SB46, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), which passed the Senate last week, was in the House Judiciary Committee this week. A public hearing was held, but a vote will not be taken until next week on whether or not to send the bill to the House floor for a vote. To their credit, the House is also requiring the bill be approved by the House Health Committee, which will deliberate on the bill once it clears the House Judiciary Committee.

ACTION ALERT: Please contact your Alabama House Representative and ask him/her to vote NO on SB46. Click here if you know your State House Member’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

Yoga

HB246, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Gray (D-Opelika), passed the full House. It now goes to the Senate. We were unable to get an amendment on the bill requiring that parents sign a disclosure document that acknowledges that Yoga is intrinsically tied to the Hindu religion, but we hope to get that amendment added in the Senate. We would prefer that the Senate not pass the bill (amended or not).

ACTION ALERT: Please contact your Alabama Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on HB246. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

Alcohol

The bills legalizing direct delivery of alcoholic beverages to the homes of individuals (there are several) are still making their way through the Legislature. ALCAP opposes all of these bills.

SB287, which will result in the privatization of liquor stores in Alabama and will mean more stores, open longer hours and on more days, with more people drinking, continues to be of concern. We are watching this legislation very closely.

A new bill, SB334, sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), would legalize the purchase of alcoholic beverages at drive-thru windows. What could possibly go wrong with this?! (Note the sarcasm!) ALCAP obviously opposes this.

Vulnerable Child Accountability and Protection Act (VCAP) The senate version of this bill (SB10) passed the Senate last week and received a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee this week. The House version (HB1) already passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with an amendment. We expect the Senate version to do the same when the committee votes on it next week. SB10 will then go to the full House for debate and a vote. Pray that this bill will pass. It protects children from receiving hormone blockers or surgery for the purpose of trying to change their sex.

Legislative Update 3/5/2021 Week 4

GAMBLING

Senate Bill 214 (SB214), sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh, is still waiting to be brought back to the floor of the Alabama Senate. Some have speculated that Marsh’s reason for not bringing it back for debate is because he doesn’t have the number of votes he needs in order to pass it (he needs 21 votes in the Senate). Others speculate that he is continuing to make changes to the bill in order to make it more acceptable to more senators (in other words, he’s “buying” their votes with promised benefits for the various districts represented by the different senators). Whatever the case, we anticipate the bill could come to the senate floor as early as next Tuesday, March 9, 2021. It is still important for everyone to call his/her state senator and ask them to vote NO on SB214. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION & PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)

HB1 and SB10 are companion bills. Both bills prohibit gender change therapy for minors and prohibit the withholding of certain information from parents. HB1 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, but SB10 actually passed out of the full Senate and has now gone to the House where it will have to go through a committee before going to the floor of the House for a vote. ALCAP supports these bills and we will keep you posted as they progress through the House.

“MEDICAL” MARIJUANA

SB46, the “medical” marijuana bill, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson, passed out of the full Senate with ten NO votes. If your state senator is listed here, please let him know how grateful you are for his opposition to SB46: Butler, Roberts, Scofield, Shelnutt, Allen, Givhan, Holley, Orr, Reed and Stutts. Click here then click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message.

SB46 now goes to the House and we hope to stop it there. Please contact your Alabama House Member and ask him/her to vote NO on SB46 (the “medical” marijuana bill). Click here if you know your State House Member’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator

ALCOHOL

We are monitoring several bills that will allow the delivery of alcoholic beverages directly to the homes of Alabama residents. If you have contact with your House Member or State Senator, please ask him or her to vote NO on all bills related to the direct delivery of alcoholic beverages.

This week, SB287 was introduced in the Senate. This bill calls for the privatization of liquor sales in Alabama. ALCAP has always opposed “privatization” because it will result in MANY more liquor store locations, operating longer hours and more days of the week. This will result in more people drinking and greater social costs to the state. If you don’t want to see your local Walmart, Walgreens and CVS stores becoming liquor stores, or you don’t want to see privately owned liquor stores opening on every corner in your community, you need to contact your legislators (especially, your state senator) and ask them to vote NO on SB287. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click here if you know your State House Member’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator or House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator

YOGA

HB246 which will allow the Hindu religious practice of Yoga to be taught in public schools has passed out of committee and been placed on the House Special Order Calendar a couple of times already. However, the House has still not gotten to it and the bill is again scheduled for next Tuesday, March 9. It is far enough down on the calendar that they might not get to it on Tuesday either, but we will continue to monitor the bill. ALCAP is opposed to this bill and urges legislators to vote NO on HB246. For more information on why we oppose Yoga being taught in schools, watch the attached video interview with Clete Hux of the Apologetics Resource Center.

Legislative Update 2/26/2021

GAMBLING

As a reminder, on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, Sen. Del Marsh introduced Senate Bill 214 (SB214), calling for a constitutional amendment to be voted on by the citizens of Alabama that would legalize gambling in the state. The bill was voted out of the Senate Tourism Committee that Wednesday by a unanimous vote and Sen. Marsh indicated it would be on the floor of the Senate the next day (Thursday, February 11). He added that he would move that they “carry over” the final vote until after the Legislature’s scheduled 10-day break. This was to give the senators time to hear from their constituents. When they returned on February 23, Marsh indicated that he would not bring the bill to the floor for two weeks. This leads me to believe that he does not have the votes to pass it yet or he is trying to add even more gambling to the bill. Rumor has it that instead of 5-7 casinos, they are now talking about 8-10 casinos throughout the state. Hopefully, we can get constituents to pressure their senators to oppose this bill. We will keep everyone updated by way of our ALCAP Alerts. Everyone still has time to contact their State Senator and urge him/her to vote NO on SB214. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know your State Senator’s name. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

We are not talking about a simple “paper lottery,” but wide-spread gambling involving electronic gambling devices (slot machines and possibly online gambling “in the palm of your hand”); full-fledged casinos up and down the state; and a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians which would allow them to add a casino in Northeast Alabama near Huntsville and Chattanooga, TN, and now, possibly, a casino in every district of Alabama.

The argument from legislators who favor this bill is that they “just want to allow the people of Alabama to vote on gambling,” but what they really mean is they want to allow the big lottery management companies, the casino operators and the tribal gambling bosses to BUY the votes of the people. These gambling enterprises will combine their resources and grossly outspend gambling opponents.

Who will be the opponents? — Mostly the churches which will have to take the precious few ministry and missions dollars they have to fight this constitutional amendment. Gambling (whether you are talking about lottery games or casino gambling) will prey on the poorest people in our state and will lead to many more people losing everything they have on the false promise that they will “strike it rich!” In the end, churches will also lose as they are called upon to help families that will have lost everything they own (including their mortgages) through government-sanctioned and government-sponsored gambling.

For more information, click on the following links…

Document shared with the Governor’s Gambling Policy Study Committee last summer – Report to the Governor’s Gambling Policy Study Committee by Joseph C. Godfrey. Stop Predatory Gambling

SB46 – “MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Senate Bill 46 (SB46), the “Medical” marijuana bill, unfortunately, passed out of the Alabama Senate 21-8. The senators who voted NO included Senators Allen, Butler, Givhan, Holley, Orr, Reed, Roberts, Scofield, Shelnutt and Stutts. If you live in the district of any of these senators, please contact them and thank them for their NO vote. Click on their picture, fill out the form with your contact information, then “continue” to send your message. The bill now goes to the Alabama House of Representatives. Speaker Mac McCutcheon indicated that it will go through two House committees before it comes to the floor of the House for a vote: 1) The House Judiciary Committee; and 2) the House Health Committee. Please contact your Alabama House member and ask him/her to vote NO on SB46. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)

The two versions of this bill (one in the Senate and one in the House) were both in committee recently. House Bill 1 (HB1) had a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, was amended in committee, and then given a “favorable report,” meaning it now goes to the full House for debate and a vote. Senate Bill 10 (SB10), after a public hearing, was passed out of the Senate Health Committee. Both bills prohibit gender change therapy for minors and prohibit the withholding of certain related information from parents. ALCAP supports both of these bills and we encourage you to let your State Senator and State House Member know that you want them to vote YES on both bills. Click here if you know your State Senator’s name. Click here if you know your State House Member’s name. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message. Click here if you do not know the name of your State Senator or House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

ALCOHOL

Several bills are making their way through the House and Senate that will allow for direct shipment of alcoholic beverages directly to the homes of Alabama citizens. Do not expect delivery service personnel to check IDs of those receiving the shipments! If any of these bills are passed by both houses and signed by the Governor, the result will be alcoholic beverages becoming available without any restrictions. Let me remind everyone that alcohol is a mind-altering and addictive drug and should be very restricted in its availability. It is not like buying regular grocery items online. Please see the instructions above to contact your Senator and House member and ask them to oppose all alcohol direct-delivery bills.

YOGA

HB246 has been introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives and was given a “favorable report” by the House Education Policy Committee, sending it to the full House for debate and a vote. This bill attempts to overturn existing law that bans the practice of yoga and meditation in public schools throughout the state. I interviewed Rev. Clete Hux, Executive Director of the Apologetics Resource Center in Birmingham, concerning why this bill is really a “Trojan Horse” that will establish the Hindu religion in public schools. ALCAP produced a 21-minute video of an interview with Clete Hux discussing this issue. You can view this interview here…

Legislative Update – 2/12/2021 Let your State Senator hear from you.

As expected, the Alabama Senate took up debate on Sen. Del Marsh’s gambling bill, SB214, today. None of the senators who spoke offered any opposition to the bill, only compliments to the sponsor and suggesting “minor tweaks” to the bill. As promised, Sen. Marsh moved to “carry over” the bill until February 23 when the legislators return from a planned break.

Much of the discussion today focused on the “beneficiaries” of the gambling money. The bill (as it currently reads) calls for farmers to get money, broadband to be provided in rural areas, junior college, vocational schools and four-year colleges to get scholarship money, prisons, rural hospitals, and a host of other “beneficiaries” to receive part of the “pie.” What was never discussed is from where all that money will come, but I can tell you! — The money will come from the pockets of losers (and most of those will be among the poorest citizens of our state)! Citizens who live in upscale neighborhoods and make a lot of money will not be buying enough lottery tickets or gambling enough money away at casinos to pay for all the things the bill says the gambling money will support. Also, the amount of money that gambling will generate is a “pipe dream”! It is not a sustainable amount of revenue year-after-year.

The bill also calls for 5 casinos around the state (one of which will be a new one owned and operated by the Poarch Creek Indians in Northeast Alabama), but senators lined up to argue why their own districts should have casinos, as well. The sponsor responded that the proposed “Gaming” (a.k.a., Gambling) Commission would be able to add two additional casinos at their discretion, for a total of SEVEN casinos all over the state!

Most of the people who gamble at casinos live within a 50-mile radius of the casino, so that means most of the money these casinos bring in will come from the citizens of Alabama! The $700M the Governor’s Gambling Study Committee said in their report that would come from state-sanctioned casinos and a state-sponsored lottery will be coming from the citizens of Alabama! It may be a “voluntary tax,” but it is a tax that is based on DECEPTION! (Gambling bosses promise everyone that they will “strike it rich,” but the games are rigged in favor of the casinos and the state always gets their “cut of the lottery money.” Gambling is FRAUDULENT at its root!) And, as mentioned earlier, it will not continue to bring in the dollars they promise! Gambling never does! (Remember how the Birmingham Racetrack promised that the Birmingham City Schools would never want for money if the people of Jefferson County would just vote to legalize horse racing?!)

The senators kept repeating that their constituents want to vote on gambling, but how many of those people will understand what they are deciding? They will only hear and read what the casino bosses, the tribal gambling bosses and the lottery management companies want them to hear and read. Opponents will not have the financial resources to communicate the true story of how gambling destroys economies, how it destroys businesses and how it destroys families.

Sen. Marsh said he was carrying over the bill until they return on February 23, so the senators could hear from their constituents. WELL, LET THEM HEAR FROM YOU!!! CONTACT YOUR ALABAMA STATE SENATOR THIS WEEK AND TELL HIM/HER TO VOTE “NO” ON SB214!!! WE NEED TO FLOOD THEIR PHONE LINES AND EMAILS WITH OUR VOICES OF OPPOSITION!!! Click here, enter your zip-code and scroll down to find your Alabama State Senator. If we don’t contact them, we will not be able to stop the construction of casinos in our communities and the local convenience stores will have people lined up to buy lottery tickets EVERY DAY (not just when there is a large, multi-state jackpot)!!! Small businesses will suffer because people will be gambling away their money and not buying goods and services; sales tax revenue will plummet, hurting local governments and the Alabama Education Trust Fund Budget, which gets $.04 out of every sales tax dollar; Medicaid rolls will increase because people are gambling instead of providing for their family’s healthcare needs; and taxes will be raised on all of us (even non-gamblers) in order to cover the deficits. This won’t happen immediately, but it will eventually take place.

Also, pro-gambling forces will come back to the State Legislature every year wanting to expand gambling because “the original games just aren’t bringing in as much as we thought and promised.” And, what about all those groups that were promised a “piece of the pie”? They will not get what they were promised and they will begin to struggle to make ends meet. If you doubt me, look at states such as New Jersey, Illinois and California. These states have a huge amount of gambling, and yet they have some of the highest taxes in the nation (not to mention that they are perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy)! For more information on the gambling issue, read the document I presented to the Governor’s Gambling Study Committee last summer and/or watch the video I produced last fall. Also, check out the links at our website (www.ALCAP.com), and especially the Stop Predatory Gambling website (www.StopPredatoryGambling.org).

Legislative Update – 2/12/2021 Week #2

GAMBLING

On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, Sen. Del Marsh introduced Senate Bill 214 (SB214), calling for a constitutional amendment to be voted on by the citizens of Alabama that would legalize gambling in the state. The bill was voted out of the Senate Tourism Committee on Wednesday by a unanimous vote and Sen. Marsh indicated it would be on the floor of the Senate on Thursday, February 11. He added that he would move they “carry over” the final vote until after the Legislature’s scheduled 10-day break. This is to give the senators time to hear from their constituents. I would encourage everyone to contact your State Senator this week or next and urge them to vote NO on SB214.

We are not talking about a simple “paper lottery,” but wide-spread gambling involving electronic gambling devices (slot machines and possibly online gambling “in the palm of your hand”), full-fledged casinos up and down the state, and a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians which would allow them to add a casino in Northeast Alabama near Huntsville and Chattanooga, TN.

The argument from legislators who favor this bill is that they “just want to allow the people of Alabama to vote on gambling,” but what they really mean is they want to allow the big lottery management companies, the casino operators and the tribal gambling bosses to BUY the votes of the people. These gambling enterprises will combine their resources and grossly outspend gambling opponents. Who will be the opponents? — Mostly the churches which will have to take the precious few ministry and missions dollars they have to fight this constitutional amendment. Gambling (whether your are talking about lottery games or casino gambling) will prey on the poorest people in our state and will lead to many more people losing everything they have on the false promise that they will “strike it rich!” In the end, churches will also lose as they are called upon to help families that will have lost everything they own (including their mortgages) through government-sanctioned and government-sponsored gambling.

In the fall of 2020 I produced a 12-minute video that outlines why Christians should oppose gambling. Click here to view this video. Click here for a copy of a document that ALCAP provided the Governor’s Gambling Policy Study Committee last summer. It will answer many of the questions raised concerning the expansion of legalized gambling in Alabama. For additional information, visit www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)

The two versions of this bill (one in the Senate and one in the House) were both in committee today. House Bill 1 (HB1) had a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee and will, hopefully, be voted out of committee after the legislators return from their pre-planned break. Senate Bill 10 (SB10), after a public hearing, was passed out of the Senate Health Committee today. Both bills prohibit gender change therapy for minors and prohibit the withholding of certain related information from parents. ALCAP supports both of these bills and we encourage you to let your State Senator and State House Member know that you want them to vote YES on both bills. Click on the link, enter your zip-code then scroll down to find your Alabama Sate

[NOTE: Public hearings are being held on various bills. I have chosen, due to the health risks of my wife, not to participate in any public hearings or travel to the State House. Access by lobbyists to the State House is limited and there have been reported cases of COVID-19 among staff and even one legislator. Most public hearings only allow speakers a couple of minutes to present their positions and most of the legislators have already made up their minds before the public hearing. I have decided it is not worth the risk to my family. I am using other means of communication with key legislators and I am using my time to watch meetings online and then reporting what is taking place to you so that you can contact your own legislators.]

YOGA

House Bill 246 (HB246) has been introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives. This bill attempts to overturn existing law that bans the practice of yoga and meditation in public schools throughout the state. I interviewed Rev. Clete Hux, Executive Director of the Apologetics Resource Center in Birmingham, concerning why this bill is really a “Trojan Horse” that will establish the Hindu religion in public schools. Click here to view a video of that 21-minute interview.

ALCOHOL

SB138 passed out of the Senate Tourism Committee today with a unanimous vote. A similar bill (HB229) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. These bills will allow for direct shipment of alcoholic beverages directly to the homes of Alabama citizens. Do not expect delivery service personnel to check IDs of those receiving the shipments! If either of these bills is passed by both houses and signed by the Governor, the result will be alcoholic beverages becoming available without any restrictions. Let me remind everyone that alcohol is a mind-altering and addictive drug and should be very restricted in its availability. It is not like buying regular grocery items online.

UPDATED WEBSITES FOR ALCAP AND AMERICAN CHARACTER BUILDERS

Great news from ALCAP & American Character Builders — We have updated both websites! They are still packed with information, links and resources for use in schools and churches, but with a fresh, up-to-date and easy-to-navigate format.

At www.ALCAP.com check out Alabama legislative updates and articles concerning a variety of topics on subjects such as alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, gambling, religious freedom, pro-life, pro-family and a host of other similar topics. We would especially encourage you to check out “The Forgotten Command” page, which includes an introductory video and six single-session videos dealing with the importance of Christians and churches being the “salt and light” Jesus called us to be. Along with each video (20-30 minutes in length) is a .PDF with discussion questions for use in churches, small groups or individual study.

On the American Character Builders website (www.AmericanCharacterBuilders.org) you will find resources for use in public or private schools, as well as local churches, on subjects dealing with alcohol, tobacco, opioids, other drugs and bullying. You will also find helpful links to supplement whatever study you use. We hope you find the new format refreshing and easy to navigate, and the information found on each website useful in your school, church and community!

Contact your State Senator to Vote NO on SB 46 – “Medical Marijuana”

As stated in my earlier “ALCAP Alert!” we had asked for a public hearing on SB46 (“medical” marijuana). After talking with the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was going to decide whether or not to send the bill to the full Alabama Senate for a vote and learning that each speaker would only have one and a half minutes to speak, we decided the risk related to COVID-19 was not worth it and we withdrew our request for a public hearing. The chairman invited me to send him any paper(s) that I wanted to share with the committee. Below is a copy of my email and attached are the two documents I sent him.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill out of committee this morning. I would encourage everyone to contact your State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on SB46. We were told that the Legislature would only deal with “urgent” legislation the first couple of weeks until they could assess the risks for spreading the virus, so apparently they think exposing the citizens of Alabama to a mind-altering and addictive drug (marijuana) without honest and legitimate debate and input from the citizens of Alabama is somehow “urgent.”

Here is the email and attachments we sent to the chairman yesterday…

Dear Senate Judiciary Committee Members:

Sen. Whatley offered me the opportunity to send something for you to read since I withdrew my request for a public hearing on SB46 due to COVID-19 concerns. Because my wife is considered high risk due to heart bypass surgery a couple of years ago and because she is a Type 1 diabetic (for the last 57 years), I did not want to risk exposing myself, or possibly, those of you who must be at the State House.

I realize how limited your time is and most of you heard all the “talking points” last year when a similar bill was introduced, so what I am sending you today, as a reminder, is a 2019 letter from the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics that many of you saw last year. I am adding to the letter something you may not have seen. It is an article that was published on the “Parents Opposed to Pot” website (www.poppot.org).

The story is short and I would respectfully ask that you take the time to read it. Often, those who support the legalization of marijuana in the name of “medicine,” appeal to you on the basis of emotion, so I am taking the “emotional approach” this time by including this article.

Thank you for all you are doing for our state and I assure you of my continued prayers for you during these challenging days. I look forward to being able to see you in person soon.

Sincerely,

Joe Godfrey

ALCAP

Attachments:

“Parents Opposed to Pot” Article – Remember Andy Zorn

2019 Letter from the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

2021 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature

The 2021 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature begins tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2. Already there are several bills that have been pre-filed that are of great concern to ALCAP and should be of concern for all citizens of Alabama.

Of immediate concern is SB46 (Senate Bill 46) which would legalize “medical” marijuana. A similar bill passed the Senate last year, but after the Legislative Session was cut short by the pandemic, it never came to the House for a vote. The bill has been re-introduced this year and appears to be on a “fast track” for passage in the Senate IN SPITE OF REPORTS THAT LEGISLATORS ARE “ONLY GOING TO ADDRESS THE MOST PRESSING BILLS EARLY IN THE SESSION.”

Apparently, they believe this highly controversial bill is among the “MOST PRESSING” legislation on which they need to focus. ALCAP has been told that this bill will likely be on the agenda for the first Senate Judiciary Committee meeting which is scheduled this Wednesday, February 3 at 8:30AM. Though access to the State House will be limited and only 27 seats will be available in the meeting room, and though those seats will be available on a “first-come-first-serve” basis, the committee (from what we have been able to surmise) is going to move forward with a public hearing on this bill (a public hearing that ALCAP requested).

This public hearing on a controversial and non-emergency bill will subject legislators, staff and the public to potential infection of COVID-19. Everyone entering the State House will be required to wear a mask and socially distance, but we all know that masks do not insure that people will not get infected. And, how do you socially distance when people are crowding together at the front door in order to be among the few that are allowed to enter the building?

If you have any kind of relationship with the Senate leaders (Sen. Greg Reed, who is poised to become the new Senate Pro Tem, Sen. Jabo Waggoner, the Senate Rules Committee Chair, or Sen. Tom Whatley, who is poised to become the new Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will be meeting on Wednesday), please use the links above and click on their picture to contact them and ask them to stop advancing controversial bills, such as SB46, until the pandemic is under control in our state.

Other bills that have been pre-filed include the following:

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES…

HB1 – Vulnerable Child Compassion & Protection Act (“VCAP” – a bill that prevents parents from performing transgender treatments and/or surgery on minor children) – ALCAP supports this bill

HB2 – Outlawing the drug Tianepline – ALCAP supports this bill

HB101 – Direct delivery of alcoholic beverages to homes – ALCAP opposes this bill

HB161 – Legalizes sports wagering – ALCAP opposes this bill

HB199 – Legalizes a state-sponsored lottery – ALCAP opposes this bill

HB200 – Legalizes casino gambling – ALCAP opposes this bill

IN THE SENATE…

SB10 – “VCAP” (a companion bill to HB1) – ALCAP supports this bill

SB46 – “Medical” marijuana – ALCAP opposes this bill We have been told that other pro-gambling bills are currently being drafted and will likely be introduced once the Regular Session begins. Please pray for ALCAP, other organizations and legislators who are attempting to stand up for what is moral and good for all citizens in our state.

Gambling legislation to be introduced during the regular session of the Alabama Legislature

Earlier this week I had the privilege of participating in a Zoom meeting that included the Alabama Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon. In that meeting he stated that legislation legalizing a state-sponsored lottery, state-sanctioned casinos and a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians was already being drafted and will definitely be introduced during the 2021 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. With all the problems facing our state, it appears the Alabama House and Senate will likely waste a great deal of time debating legislation that will only serve to take money out of the pockets of Alabama citizens (mostly the poorest citizens of our state) and will generate very little in return. In fact, it will do more harm than good!

The Governor’s Study Group on Gambling Policy Report, which was recently released, claims that Alabama can expect $700M (we believe that is a greatly exaggerated amount) in revenue from legalizing gambling, but even the chairman of that committee, former Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, admitted at the news conference where that report was released that few people will travel to Alabama to buy lottery tickets or gamble in state-sanctioned casinos. He acknowledged that most of that money will come from the pockets of Alabama residents.

Where do you think that money will go if it is not being spent on gambling? — It will go to small businesses to buy goods and services. That means small businesses, local municipalities, county governments and the Alabama Education Trust Fund that gets much of its money from sales taxes will all suffer! Then, the Legislature will have to come back and raise taxes on everyone (even those of us who don’t gamble) in order to recover the lost revenue.

Please watch the attached 12-minute video that I produced this past fall and please share it with everyone in your circle of influence (church members, other churches and pastors and anyone you think might benefit from watching it). Also, as the video points out, please contact your Alabama State Representative and Senator and let him or her know of your opposition to any and all pro-gambling legislation!

ALCAP will have limited access to the State House and legislators this year due to COVID-19, so it is more important than ever that YOU get involved and contact your own legislators about this issue!

Gambling – A Bad Bet for Alabama