Legislative News

Governor Ivey Signs VCAP and Bathroom Bills

Great news to report! Governor Ivey has signed both SB184 and HB322!


SB184, also known as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection act, prevents parents from allowing hormone blockers and/or surgical procedures to be used on their children under the age of 19. There are exceptions in the legislation for using hormone blockers, but they cannot be used for the purpose of trying to change the sexual appearance of a child before that child can make their own decision. At the signing, Governor Ivey said, “There are very real challenges facing our young people, especially with today’s societal pressures and modern culture. I believe very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl. We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life. Instead, let us all focus on helping them to properly develop into the adults God intended them to be.


HB322, requires school children to use the bathroom that matches their sex at birth. An amendment was added that prevents sexual orientation from being taught in grades K-5. On the signing of this bill, Governor Ivey said, “Here in Alabama, men use the men’s room, and ladies use the ladies’ room – it’s really a no brainer. This bill will also ensure our elementary school classrooms remain free from any kind of sex talk. Let me be clear to the media and opponents who like to incorrectly dub this the “Don’t Say Gay” amendment: That is misleading, false and just plain wrong. We don’t need to be teaching young children about sex. We are talking about five-year-olds for crying out loud. We need to focus on what matters – core instruction like reading and math.

Final Week – Alabama Legislative Session 2022

SEXUAL ISSUES RELATED TO CHILDREN

On Thursday, April 7, 2022, the last day of the Regular Session, we experienced two stunning victories in the Alabama Legislature. The Alabama Senate passed HB322 that requires school children to use the bathroom that matches their sex at birth. An amendment was added that prevents sexual orientation from being taught in grades K-5, and the House voted to concur with the Senate amendment. Now the bill must go to the Governor for her signature.

The second victory was the passage of SB184 in the House. Known as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (VCAP), this bill prevents parents from allowing hormone blockers and/or surgical procedures to be used on their children under the age of 19. There are exceptions in the legislation for using hormone blockers, but they cannot be used for the purpose of trying to change the sexual appearance of a child before that child can make their own decision.

We have worked for three years to get this bill passed, and now, it has been accomplished. Again, this bill must go to the Governor for her signature.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact Governor Ivey’s office and ask her to sign HB322 and SB184.

GAMBLING

As we reported in an ALCAP Alert last week, All pro-gambling bills failed to get to either the Senate or the House floor for debate. We want to thank everyone who worked with ALCAP to stop gambling expansion again this year, but we fully expect it to keep resurfacing. Gambling bosses will not give up, so neither should we.

ACTION TO TAKE: During the next few weeks, as candidates are begging for your vote, let them know that you do NOT want them supporting pro-gambling bills. Let them know that we don’t need to vote on legalizing more gambling, but we want our local and state-elected officials to enforce the current gambling laws by shutting down illegal casinos. No where in America has legalized gambling stopped illegal gambling. If they are not going to stop the illegal gambling taking place now, why would legalizing it stop illegal gambling going forward? For more information on how state-sponsored lotteries and state-sanctioned casinos are failed public policies in every state where they are legal, visit www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.

ALCOHOL

The Legislature passed several alcohol bills during this session. Though ALCAP opposed all of these bills and spoke out against them at public hearings, we were able to have positive input and get amendments added that help to restrict alcohol as much as possible.

HB119, sponsored by Rep. Gil Isbell, allows for the sell of beer and wine at drive-thru windows. After passing the House, a Senate committee added an amendment from Sen. Steve Livingston that would allow “spirits” (hard liquor) to be sold at drive-thru windows, as well. Thankfully, that amendment was removed before the bill finally passed the Senate.

HB234, sponsored by Rep. Neil Rafferty, allows for food trucks in Birmingham (only) to sell alcoholic beverages. ALCAP managed to get an amendment added that restricts this practice to times when the food trucks are parked at existing entertainment districts where alcohol is already allowed. In other words, a food truck may not pull up anywhere they want (including near schools or churches) and sell alcohol.

HB395, sponsored by Rep. Joe Lovvorn, allows certain Alabama universities and community colleges to teach brewing and distilling practices as a part of their “hospitality” education programs. Some of ALCAP’s concerns were addressed by an amendment that requires the college or university to have a full-fledged campus police force and not just a security detail, but we still foresee major problems with the passage of this legislation.

MARIJUANA

Working with others, ALCAP was unable to get a bill passed that would restrict the sell of “medical” marijuana to pregnant women once the “medical” marijuana dispensaries begin opening in the next few months. ALCAP will continue to work to restrict marijuana sales, but Alabamians, and especially churches, need to get ready for what is coming. Greg Davis reported that he saw an interview with the “medical” marijuana commissioner, John McMillan, in which Mr. McMillan claimed that “some people” (a clear reference to ALCAP) are untruthful when we warn of “pot shops (a.k.a., dispensaries) on every corner.” He claimed that there will only be 37 dispensaries state-wide. When pressed by the interviewer, he went on to acknowledge, however, that “37” is only the beginning. He said that as demand rises, more dispensaries will be added. This is exactly what ALCAP has been warning about!

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your local city council and county commissioners, and ask them to NOT allow dispensaries in your community. When this bill was passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Governor Ivey last year, ALCAP was able to get an amendment added that required city councils or county commissions to vote on whether or not a dispensary could be built in their city or county. Your local officials will be heavily lobbied by the marijuana industry to approve these pot shops, so you need to let your voices of opposition be heard.


PERSONAL WORD

As of May 1, 2022, Greg Davis will officially take over as the President and CEO of ALCAP and American Character Builders (our educational program). Please pray for him and Kyle Brassell, who will be taking over for “also-retiring” Cheryl Corley. I ask that you pray for Greg and Kyle, and continue to support them and these two ministries with your prayers and financial gifts.

On behalf of Cheryl and myself and all the staff and directors who preceded us (and our/their families), I want to thank you for your friendship and prayers for us through the years. The need for organizations like ALCAP and American Character Builders continues to be great, so continue on as Christ’s soldiers in the spiritual battles we will keep facing until Jesus returns. I will continue to be engaged and serving in a supportive role and I look forward to what God is going to accomplish through us all in the days ahead. — Joe Godfrey

Week 12 – Alabama Legislative Session 2022

GAMBLING

As reported in our “ALCAP Alert!” earlier this week, the competing gambling expansion bills in the House and Senate cancelled out one another. Both sets of bills could not find enough support, so the leadership in both houses have decided to stop pushing all gambling for the 2022 Regular Session. This is good news, and we are grateful to all of you who contacted your State Representatives and Senators to tell them of your opposition to gambling expansion in Alabama. Thank you, too, for your prayers!

The pro-gambling forces will not stop, so you can expect the push for gambling to resume next year after newly-elected legislators take office. That is why it is important that you encourage candidates for the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate to vote NO on all gambling expansion bills. If they say, “Well, I am personally opposed to gambling, but I want to let the people vote,” remind them that the gambling bosses will far outspend opponents so it would be more accurate to say that you want to let the gambling bosses BUY the people’s votes. Remind them, too, that we live in a representative republic, and we ARE voting by electing you to stop this predatory practice of gambling in our state.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)

The VCAP bill has passed the Senate and two House committees and is waiting to be placed on the House Special Order Calendar for debate on the floor of the House. With only 4 legislative days left, time is running out for them to pass this important legislation. This bill will protect children up to age 19 from being abused by parents who want to permanently change the sexual appearance of their child until the child is an adult and can make his/her own decision about this matter. There are exceptions in the bill for the legitimate use of hormone blockers, but the bill will prevent parents from using hormone blockers and surgical procedures for the purpose of changing the sexual appearance of their child.

Our friends at the Eagle Forum of Alabama hosted a press conference at the State House this week urging the House leadership to put this bill on the Special Order Calendar. Click on the photo below to view the report from this press conference as it appeared on Montgomery’s WSFA-TV12 on Thursday evening.

MARIJUANA

After passing a major “medical” marijuana bill last year, efforts have been underway to add restrictions to the law. SB324, sponsored by Sen. Larry Stutts (a practicing OB/GYN), would ban the sale of marijuana to women who test positive for pregnancy. As the sponsor explained in a Senate committee this week, marijuana is not listed as a medicine anywhere in federal law or medical regulations. That’s the reason this bill is necessary. Once “medical” marijuana dispensaries begin opening all over this state next year, employees (who are not trained pharmacists) will be unable to discuss drug interactions or the dangers of marijuana use with pregnant women. The marijuana industry is fighting this bill because they do not want restrictions on any of their products. Their ultimate goal is to legalize recreational marijuana.

Again, since time is running out on this session, it is important that the Senate put this bill on their Special Order Calendar this coming Tuesday, pass the bill, and send it to the House for committee approval and a vote on the House floor.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact Sen. Jabo Waggoner’s office and Sen. Greg Reed’s office and ask them to place SB324 on the Special Order Calendar for Tuesday, April 5. Then, contact your own State Senator and ask him/her to vote YES on SB324.

In order to contact your legislators, click on the link above to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol expansion bills are continuing to move through the Alabama Legislature. This week a bill that calls for state universities and community colleges to teach young people how to brew and distill alcohol passed the Senate and now goes to the Governor for her signature. There is a limit of only 3 community colleges that will be allowed to offer this kind of education and, though we opposed the bill, ALCAP supported the requirement that a university or community college have a full-fledge police force (not just a security team) in order to qualify to teach this course.

SB259, sponsored by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, received a public hearing in the House Tourism Committee on Thursday morning of this week. This bill removes the cap of 60,000 barrels of beer manufactured per year for a brewpub to be able to continue to sell its product in-store. If the brewpub or its corporate owners manufacture over 60,000 barrels a year, the brewpub becomes a manufacturer, which is not allowed to sell in-store. ALCAP spoke against this bill during the public hearing.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your House member and ask him/her to oppose SB259.

Gambling Expansion Bills “Dead” for this Legislative Session

Great news to report! It appears that all gambling expansion bills (HB501, HB502, SB293, SB294) are “dead” for this legislative session. We will give more details in our weekly ALCAP Update at the end of the week.

Thank you for your prayers and for contacting your legislators concerning this issue.
It is possible, but unlikely that one or more of these bills could be resurrected. There are only 6 legislative days left after today, so time is running out for these bills to come up.

Week 11 – Alabama Legislative Session 2022

This week’s update is a little different because the Alabama Legislature is on Spring Break. They return next week (March 29) with only 7 legislative days left to do business.

Instead of focusing on such important bills as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (VCAP bills HB150 and SB184), which protect children from parents who want to change their child’s sexual appearance, and SB324 which prohibits marijuana dispensaries (once they are up and running) from selling marijuana to pregnant women [Click here for information], it appears that all the Alabama Legislature has time for is pushing gambling.

Though legislators are not at the State House this week, go ahead and send them emails and letters, and call if you have their phone numbers. Let them know that you are opposed to gambling expansion in this state. Don’t listen to their rhetoric about how the bills will restrict gambling because that is simply not true.

Sen. Greg Albritton’s bill, SB293, will result in a state-sponsored lottery, a total of 8 full-fledged casinos, 2 satellite casinos (10 in total), and sports betting in the casinos and online. Rep. Chip Brown’s “lottery only” bill (HB501) will result in lottery ticket outlets at every convenience store in Alabama and possibly Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), which are nothing more than slot machines, in convenience stores and grocery stores throughout the state.

Most of the lottery tickets will end up in the trash cans and landfills of this great state while more homes are torn apart and more lives are destroyed. Both bills actually call for money to be designated for problem gamblers (an indication that the legislators know the number of problem gamblers in Alabama will increase substantially).

Let me give you a little lesson concerning the odds of a person purchasing a winning lottery ticket:

  • The odds of winning a Standard Lotto are 1 in 14 million (an average golfer is more likely to get 1,100 holes-in-one than they are to win a Standard Lottery jackpot).
  • The odds of winning a PowerBall Lottery are 1 in 175 million.
  • The odds of winning a Megamillions Lottery are 1 in 260 million! A person’s odds of winning a jackpot in this lottery are so bad that you are FAR more likely to be killed by an asteroid!

Yet, State Legislators want to lure you, the citizens they are constitutionally supposed to be protecting from fraudulent businesses, into throwing away your money on pieces of paper that will likely end up in the trash can. If legislators were on the payroll for a major investment firm, they would go to jail for decades if they suggested or invested their clients’ money this way.

And, the media seems to be complicit in this fraudulent scam. They report only on the big winners in other states and never tell the stories of gambling addicts whose lives have been destroyed. They interview people who drive to other states occasionally, without reporting that far more people will gamble, and they will gamble more money if the lottery ticket outlets and/or casinos are in their own neighborhoods.

Remember that all the money that legislators tout as coming to the state through gambling will be coming out of the pockets of the citizens of Alabama! Do people in Alabama already gamble? Yes. But they will gamble a whole lot more if gambling is legalized and outlets and casinos are put in their neighborhoods. Also, illegal gambling will not stop and corruption will become an even greater problem in this state.

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

1) We need to stop this insanity! Call your State Representative today and let him/her know that you OPPOSE HB501 (the “Lottery Only Bill”) and call your State Senator to let him/her know that you OPPOSE SB293 (the “Lottery, Casino, Sports Betting & Online Sports Betting Bill”).

2) Ask your State Representative to SUPPORT HB150 and/or SB184 (the “VCAP Bills”). Also, contact Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon and ask him to allow these bills to come to the floor for debate and a vote. Also, call Governor Ivey’s office and ask her to encourage a vote on the VCAP Bill.

3) Ask your State Senator to SUPPORT SB324 (the “Marijuana During Pregnancy Bill”). Also, contact Governor Ivey’s office and Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth’s office and ask them to allow this bill to advance before time runs out on this Legislative Session.

For more information visit alcap.com and StopPredatoryGambling.org.

PRESIDENT AND CEO JOE GODFREY ON ABC 33/40

Friday afternoon, President and CEO, Dr. Joe Godfrey, was interviewed by ABC 33/40 news in Birmingham about the new lottery only bill introduced in the House last week. Click the image above to watch the video to learn how a state sponsored lottery would harm the state and its citizens.

Week 10 – Alabama Legislative Session 2022

GAMBLING

Gambling took center stage again this week as Rep. Chip Brown introduced HB501 (a constitutional amendment to allow Alabama voters to decide on legalizing a state-sponsored “lottery only,” with no casinos) and HB502 (“enabling legislation” that details how the lottery would be implemented). These bills are competing with Sen. Greg Albritton’s gambling bills (SB293 and SB294) that were introduced in the Senate a couple of weeks ago. Albritton’s bills call for a state-sponsored lottery, 8 full-fledged casinos, 2 satellite casinos (a total of 10 casinos), and sports betting online and at the casinos. ALCAP thought that SB293 and SB294 would be on the Senate’s Special Order Calendar this week, but they were not. Albritton was apparently not happy and spent a little time filibustering the Senate in protest.

HB501 and HB502 were passed out of the House Tourism Committee in a special called meeting of that committee early Thursday morning, indicating that the House leadership is “fast-tracking” these bills. The legislature will be on Spring Break next week, but we anticipate that these two gambling bills will be on the House Special Order Calendar when they return on Tuesday, March 29. ALCAP’s Greg Davis and Joe Godfrey spoke against these bills during a public hearing and were interviewed by various media outlets afterward. [See below for links to some of the articles and video interviews.]

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your House Member and ask him/her to vote NO on HB501. Ask them to vote NO on both the Budget Isolation Resolution (“BIR,” which is a procedural vote) and on final passage of the bill. HB501, because it is a constitutional amendment, must receive a yes vote from 3/5 of the body (that would be 63 votes in the House).

Contact your State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on SB293. Ask them to vote NO on both the BIR and on final passage if this bill comes to the Senate floor for debate. SB293 will require that 3/5 of the Senate vote yes since it is a constitutional amendment (that would be 21 votes in the Senate).

In order to contact your legislators, click on the link above to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)

The VCAP bills continue to be held up in the House. These companion bills (HB150, sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen and SB184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt) protect children under the age of 19 from parents who want them to receive hormone blockers and/or have surgical procedures performed for the purpose of changing their sexual appearance. There are exceptions included in the bills for legitimate uses of hormone blockers. SB184 passed out of the Senate earlier this session, and it (and HB150) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee a couple of weeks ago. However, like last year, the House leadership is keeping these bills from coming to the floor of the House for debate and a vote.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your Alabama House Member and ask him/her to vote YES on HB150 or SB184 whenever these bills come to the floor. Contact Rep. Mac McCutcheon, Speaker of the House, and ask him to let one or both of these bills be placed on the Special Order Calendar as soon as possible. There are only 7 legislative days left in the 2022 Regular Session, so time is running out for them to protect these children!

PRESIDENT AND CEO JOE GODFREY ON CBS42 NEWS

Following the public hearing on the Lottery bill in the House Tourism Committee, ALCAP President and CEO, Joe Godfrey, was interviewed by CBS42 News to provide ALCAP’s position on the bill. Click on the image below to watch the video.


Joe Godfrey: Ten reasons to oppose a state lottery

Why does ALCAP oppose and why should Christians be opposed to the lottery?  There are a number of reasons, but here are the “Top Ten Reasons To Oppose A State-Sponsored Lottery”…


‘Lottery-only’ bills filed in Alabama House with only a few days left in 2022 session

As the clock ticks on the 2022 Alabama legislative session, Alabama Citizens Action Program is monitoring several late-filed gambling bills now under consideration with only seven legislative days remaining.

Lottery only bills introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives

On Tuesday of this week, Rep. Chip Brown introduced two “lottery only” bills in the Alabama House of Representatives — HB501 and HB502. HB502 is the “enabling legislation” that details how the state-sponsored lottery would be organized, but HB501 is the primary bill that calls for a state-wide constitutional amendment legalizing the state government to prey on its own citizens. The bills are being co-sponsored by the following House members:

Rhett Marques

Jeff Sorrells

Shane Stringer

Gil Isbell

Joe Faust

Ed Oliver

Margie Wilcox

Scott Stadthagen

Debbie Wood

Craig Lipscomb

Steve Hurst

Parker Moore

We’ve also been told that Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, and Majority Leader, Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter, are endorsing the bills and are “fast-tracking” them in an attempt to get them passed before the end of the 2022 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. A House Tourism Committee meeting has been called for Thursday morning (March 17) at 9:00AM in Room #123 at the Alabama State House and ALCAP has requested (and been granted) a public hearing on the bills.

HB501, if passed by both Houses, would call for a vote of the citizens of Alabama to change the Alabama Constitution in order to allow the State to operate a lottery. The revenue it generates would be divided between education, scholarships, administrative costs, and providing help for problem and addicted gamblers. (Note the irony of the last one! They are proposing a bill that would allow the State to substantially increase the number of addicted gamblers! Yes, there are already addicted gamblers in Alabama, but the number is relatively low compared to states that already have a state-sponsored lottery. They added this line item to the bill because they recognize that addictive gamblers will become a major problem.)

Well, why does ALCAP oppose and why should Christians be opposed to a state-sponsored lottery?

There are a number of reasons, but here is a list of some of them (most of this was taken from the Stop Predatory Gambling website):

1) In 1969, New Jersey congressman Cornelius Gallagher wrote that if the Garden State enacted a lottery “we could abandon all taxation in New Jersey and increase every service in our state four times over.”

Today, New Jersey has a state lottery, several casinos, online casino gambling, and commercialized sports betting. Yet the state is in the worst fiscal condition of any U.S. state, ranking 48th in the nation in George Mason University Mercatus Center’s report on the fiscal condition of states.

New Jersey exemplifies how government-sanctioned gambling has been a spectacular failure as a revenue source. It’s proven to be THE biggest budget gimmick and the calling card of anti-reform politicians across the U.S.

Yet gambling lobbyists and some public officials continue to tout government-sanctioned gambling as a way to raise tax revenue. But history has shown repeatedly that this argument is either overstated or wrong. According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government at State University of New York-Albany, the organization doing the best independent research on public revenues from gambling, states creating new revenue streams from gambling may see momentary bumps in tax income but “in the long-run, the growth in state revenues from gambling activities slows or even reverses and declines.”

That’s because income from government-sanctioned gambling does not grow over time like general tax revenue and expenditures on education and other programs. These will grow more rapidly than gambling revenue. As a result, new gambling operations that are intended to pay for normal increases in state spending add to, rather than ease, long-term budget imbalances.

2) Many states tout lotteries as a way “to improve education” yet these states have not seen significant improvement in their education rankings over the last two decades.

3) Beyond its obvious status as a budgetary shell game, government-sanctioned gambling incurs major social costs that end up being footed by all taxpayers. In addition to targeting and exploiting the financially desperate and cultivating addiction, government-sanctioned gambling leads to increases in rates of personal bankruptcy and provides new avenues for crime and money laundering. Gambling operators don’t pay for the harms they cause families, businesses, and communities. Taxpayers do. Lower-income Americans lose money on gambling, get it back by relying on more financial help from their government, which then gets it from taxpayers. 

4) Also troubling for taxpayers, gambling operators are not allowed to fail by the state. For example, when casinos come up short, states usually provide new infusions of money, reduced taxes, reduced funding for gambling addiction measures, or other concessions such as lifting smoking bans and loss limits, in order to sustain revenues and profitability. Rhode Island, Delaware, and New Jersey, to just name a few, have all taken special steps to help casinos that might otherwise fail. Public tax dollars too often prop up gambling operators.

As for state-sponsored lotteries, the Arkansas Legislature had to add a line item to their general budget a few years ago to cover the promised scholarship money because their state-sponsored lottery was not generating the income they had promised. The following is from the Arkansas Family Council website…

Many Arkansans do not realize that since the Arkansas Lottery passed in 2008, the Arkansas Legislature has continued to budget millions of dollars in taxpayer funding to supplement the lottery scholarship each year.

Last year the legislature gave the Academic Challenge Scholarship — the scholarship that the lottery funds — $25 million.

That’s a fairly typical amount.

5) All the citizens who don’t gamble also pay another way. Government-sanctioned gambling lowers our national standard of living because it’s a sterile transfer of money from millions of ordinary people’s pockets into a small number of other people’s pockets, producing nothing new and nothing of lasting value. Its economic impact is similar to throwing your money on the street so someone else can pick it up – it redistributes wealth without creating it. Because this nonproductive activity nevertheless uses up time and resources, we experience a reduced national standard of living, a consequence that impacts all of us.

6) The way we raise money to pay for our government says as much about our society’s principles and values as the way we spend it.

7)The New York Times reported that state lotteries extract between 70%-80% of their profits from just 10% of the players.

8) According to an interview in the video, “Out of Luck: Where Does the Lottery Money Go?” a state-sponsored lottery is when “the state plays its own citizens as suckers.”

9) The majority of people who play the lottery are receiving government subsidies, so those of us who don’t play, are paying for those who do play by using our tax dollars.

10) State-sponsored lotteries steadily increase the odds in order to bring in higher jackpots. They advertise ever-increasing jackpots, but they fail to mention that the odds against winning are substantially increased, as well.

11) “No taxation without representation” was one of America’s founding principles. After 45 years of state governments using lotteries and regional casinos to exploit and defraud their own citizens to extract as much money as possible, the time has come to add the principle of “no taxation by exploitation” beneath it.

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

1) Contact your Alabama State House Member (especially if it is one of the co-sponsors of the lottery bills) and ask him/her to oppose both of these bills (HB501 and HB502) and any gambling bills that may come out of the State Senate. In order to contact your legislators, click on the link above to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.

2) Contact your Alabama State Senator and ask him/her to also oppose SB293 and S294. These bills call for a state-sponsored lottery and 10 casinos around the state. You may have seen news reports that these bills only allow 5 casinos, but that statement is patently false. SB293 calls for the four existing dog tracks (Greene Track, the Birmingham Race Course, VictoryLand and the Mobile Racing Facility) to become full-fledged casinos. It also calls for a compact to be signed with the Poarch Creek Indians to build an additional casino in DeKalb or Jackson Counties, two satellite casinos to be allowed in Lowndes County and in Dothan, and it allows the existing Poarch Creek Indian casinos in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka to become full-fledge casinos with table games and slot machines. That’s a total of 10 casinos throughout the state!

SB293 and SB294 may be on the agenda tomorrow in the Senate (March 17), so it is important that you (and as many of your friends as you can rally) to contact your/their House Member and State Senator TODAY!

Week 9 – Alabama Legislative Session 2022

GAMBLING

SB293 and SB294, the two gambling-expansion bills sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton, were in the Senate Tourism Committee this week. ALCAP spoke against both bills during a public hearing, as did a number of other individuals, but as expected, both bills were given a favorable report. They will now go to the full Senate for debate. It is possible they could be on the Senate Special Order Calendar next week, but we hope they will be held up until after Spring Break, which is the week of March 21-25. That means there will only be 7 legislative days left in the 2022 Regular Session and less time for the House to handle the bills if they pass the Senate.

ACTION TO TAKE:Contact your Alabama State Senator today and ask him/her to vote NO or be absent during the voting on SB293 and SB294. The Senate must have 21 votes in order to pass a constitutional amendment, so not voting is the same as voting “no.” [If Sen. Garlan Gudger is your State Senator, contact him, and thank him for voting no on these two bills in the Senate Tourism Committee (he was the only one to vote no). Ask him to also vote NO (or not to vote) on the floor of the Senate when the bill is debated.]
In order to contact your legislators, click on the link above to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.

ALCOHOL

Over the objections of ALCAP the House passed HB395, sponsored by Rep. Joe Lovvorn. This bill allows major universities and up to three 2-year community colleges to teach students how to brew beer and distill alcoholic beverages. This bill will also allow a substantial amount of what they produce to be stored on campus. What could possibly go wrong with that?! I’m sure fraternities will never target those storage areas! (Note the sarcasm!)

One amendment that we did support allows only those schools with full-fledged police forces to participate in this program. However, think about the irony of that amendment — even the sponsors recognize that the strongest security possible will be needed because alcohol is involved.
ALCAP also shared our concern that under-aged students will be tasting the alcohol they produce. It is unlikely that students who work at brewing and/or distilling alcoholic beverages will refrain from tasting what they have produced.

HB234, sponsored by Rep. Neil Rafferty, has passed the House and is awaiting committee action in the Senate Tourism Committee. If passed and signed into law by the Governor, this bill will allow food trucks in Birmingham to serve alcoholic beverages as long as they are set up in an already existing entertainment district (a restriction for which ALCAP advocated).

HB119, sponsored by Rep. Gil Isbell, has passed the House and was given a favorable report out of the Senate Tourism Committee with one amendment added. The bill originally would allow beer and wine to be sold at convenience and liquor store drive-thru windows, but the amendment, added by Sen. Steve Livingston, added “spirits” (that is, hard liquor) to be sold at drive-thru windows, as well. ALCAP believes this bill is setting the stage for fast food restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages at their drive-thru windows.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on HB395 and HB234. Also, ask your State Senator to vote NO on HB119.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)

SB184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, has passed the Senate and was given a favorable report by the House Judiciary Committee. We are waiting for it to be placed on the House Special Order Calendar for the full House to debate the bill. Last year, a similar bill got this far. However, it was placed at the end of a long Special Order Calendar on the last day of the 2021 Session, knowing the House would never get to the bill before time ran out. This year we are hoping for a vote on the bill. ALCAP talked with the Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, who assured us the bill would get a fair hearing in the House. We are confident that, if it gets on the Special Order Calendar, the House will pass the bill.

This bill protects children from abusive parents who might permanently alter their child’s sexual appearance through hormone blockers and surgical procedures until those children are 19 years of age and capable of making such a major decision on their own. There are exceptions for the use of hormone blockers, but they may not be used for the purpose of changing a child’s sexual appearance.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your Alabama State House Member and ask him/her to vote YES on SB184.

Continue to pray for Greg Davis, Joe Godfrey, and Eric Johnston as we walk the halls of the Alabama Legislature and advocate for a biblical perspective on the moral issues facing our state. Pray, too, for the legislators and staff that work at the State House and their families.

Week 8 – Alabama Legislative Session 2022

GAMBLING:

The big news this week is that Sen. Greg Albritton finally introduced his gambling bills. SB293 calls for voters in Alabama to approve a Constitutional Amendment (CA) that will allow Class III* gambling in Alabama. SB294 is the “enabling legislation” (that details how gambling expansion will be implemented). Since SB294 will not apply if the CA does not pass, I will focus my comments on SB293.

SB293 calls for a state-sponsored “education lottery,” but some of the income from the lottery may be used for other purposes. (It is very vague and a little confusing.) The bill also calls for the following:

  • The four existing illegal casinos currently operating in the state (Greene Track in Greene County; the Birmingham Race Track in Jefferson County; VictoryLand in Macon County; and the Mobile County Greyhound Racing facility in Mobile County) will be “rewarded” for their illegal activity with a monopoly if they are willing to sign a contract and pay millions of dollars in fees for the exclusive right to operate in the state as full-fledged casinos (with table games and slot machines, as well as sports betting and online sports betting).
  • Two “satellite casinos” will also be allowed (one casino in each of the following counties: Houston and Lowndes). Illegal casinos are already operating in these two counties, so they will also be “rewarded” by the state for their years of illegal operations.
  • The Poarch Band of Creek Indians will be allowed to sign a compact with the state. This compact, as stated in the bill, will allow the existing Indian facilities (one in Atmore, one in Montgomery and one in Wetumpka) to operate full-fledged casinos with table games, slot machines, sports betting and online sports betting, but the compact will also allow them to build a fourth casino in either DeKalb or Jackson County.

As stated above, sports betting at the casinos and online sports betting managed by the casinos, will be legalized. This means that there will be a total of 8 casinos and two satellite casinos (10 in all) operating throughout the entire state of Alabama, but worse than that, online sports betting will put gambling in the hands of everyone with a smart phone (including young people and children)!

If this bill passes and goes on the ballot for Alabama citizens to vote on in the November general election, the pro-gambling “bosses” and Poarch Creek Indians will spend tens of millions of dollars on advertising (TV, radio, direct mail, social media) to promote and sell the people of Alabama on “how great gambling will be for the state.” Many legislators argue that they are not necessarily in favor of gambling, but they want to “let the people vote.” However, it would be more accurate for them to say, “Let us BUY the people’s vote.” And, remember this: If the people of Alabama vote to legalize Class III gambling in the state, they will never be able to vote on the issue again because the gambling bosses will control the elections from now on. They will own the candidates and the media.

Once the state becomes dependent on gambling revenue, legislators will have to keep raising taxes on everyone (even those who do not gamble) in order to make up the lost revenue from lower sales tax income. If people are buying lottery tickets and gambling away their hard-earned income at casinos, they will not be buying goods and services. This will hurt small businesses, local municipalities and counties, as well as the Education Trust Fund, which gets $.04 of every sales tax dollar. 

As people gamble less (which often happens when they realize they will not win), legislators will have to find ways to prop up the gambling establishments or increase the number of casinos and types of lottery games in order to keep people gambling. If you doubt this will happen, look at states that have all forms of gambling (lotteries and casinos) and see how they are struggling financially and how they have much higher taxes than Alabama — states such as New Jersey, Illinois and California. If gambling was so good for the economy, those states should be the richest in the nation, and yet, they are struggling financially and have some of the highest taxes in the nation.

There is so much more to say, but what we need right now is for everyone to contact your Alabama State Senator and House Member and ask him/her to oppose ALL pro-gambling bills, especially SB293. Also, contact others in your circle of influence who oppose gambling or who you can convince to oppose gambling, and ask them to contact their State Senator and House Member. For more information, visit www.ALCAP.com and www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your Alabama State Senator and House Member and ask him/her to vote NO on SB293! In order to contact your legislators, click on the link to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website, click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.

*Class I gambling is “social gambling” among friends. Class II gambling is charitable bingo. Class III gambling is predatory in nature. It is any gambling that involves table games, slot machines, etc.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP):

SB184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt (and which passed out of the Senate last week), along with its companion bill, HB266, sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen, were both given a favorable report by the House Judiciary Committee this week. Since the Senate bill has already passed out of the full Senate, we expect Rep. Allen to focus on getting that bill passed by the House. We hope the bill will be added to the House Special Order Calendar soon, get passed, and be signed by the Governor. This bill protects children from abusive parents who might permanently alter their child’s sexual appearance through hormone blockers and surgical procedures until those children are 19 years of age and capable of making such a major decision on their own. There are exceptions for the use of hormone blockers, but they may not be used for the purpose of changing a child’s sexual appearance.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon and ask him to put SB184 (the VCAP bill) on the Special Order Calendar and get that bill passed as soon as possible.

COMMON CORE

Here’s a legislative update from our friends at Eagle Forum and the work they are doing on an education bill.

PRIORITY TALK RADIO PROGRAM

Callers to Greg Davis’s radio show, Priority Talk (a ministry of ALCAP) continue to tell how grateful they are for Greg and the way he is keeping them updated on the issues in our state. Several callers have indicated that they have looked for their legislators on the ALCAP website and called to tell their State Senator and/or House Member their opinions. These callers also commented how easy it was and how little time they had to take to make the calls or write the emails.

If you want to hear Greg’s program, it is on each weekday afternoon from 4:00pm-6:00pm on WXJC (101.1FM) all over north Alabama. You can also hear it online at https://prioritytalkradio.com.

PERSONAL WORD FROM JOE GODFREY

At the annual ALCAP Board Meeting this past Tuesday, the Board very graciously honored Cheryl Corley and me as we both plan to retire from ALCAP and American Character Builders at the end of April. (They, also, honored my wife, Joy.) We all want to thank the Board, the churches and all the individuals that have supported these ministries and prayed for us through these last 15 years. We love you and we will continue to do whatever we can to support the work of ALCAP and American Character Builders.

Week 7 Alabama Legislative Session 2022

ALCOHOL:

HB119, sponsored by Rep. Gil Isbell, allows alcohol to be sold at a drive-through window. The original bill, which passed the House, only allowed beer and wine to be sold that way. However, Sen. Steve Livingston added an amendment in the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee that will allow “spirits” (hard liquor) to be sold at a drive-through window, as well. After talking with the legal council for the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, I was told that regulations for this method of purchase of alcohol will be very difficult to enforce. He shared some of the problems associated with drive-through alcohol sales in other states with me.

HB176, sponsored by Rep. Kyle South, will allow 18-year-olds to serve alcoholic beverages in a restaurant but restrict them from working in the bar area or mixing drinks. This is down from the current age limit of 19 and is a result of fewer people in the workforce. ALCAP spoke against the bill in a public hearing on Wednesday because we believe that this will have a negative impact on our culture and may open the door for alcohol to become more accessible to 18-year-olds and their friends. The bill passed out of the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee and now goes to the full House for a vote.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your Alabama State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on HB119. Contact your House Member and ask him/her to vote NO on HB176. In order to contact your legislators, click on the link to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.

GAMBLING:

Another week has passed without Sen. Greg Albritton introducing a comprehensive gambling bill, but there is still time in this session for him to do so. We are half way through the 2022 Legislative Session, so this tells me he may not have the votes for it to pass. Sen. Albritton is also chairing the committee that prepares the General Fund Budget, which the Senate passed on Thursday of this week. With the bulk of that committee’s work done, Sen. Albritton may have more time to devote to getting his gambling bill ready to introduce, so “stay tuned!”

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your Alabama State Senator and ask him/her to OPPOSE any gambling bills that may be introduced.

VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION & PROTECTION ACT (VCAP):

SB184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, and HB266, sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen, are written to protect children from parents who may use hormone blockers and/or surgery to alter their child’s sexual appearance. The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on HB266 but will vote next Wednesday on whether or not to advance the bill to the full House for debate. The good news is that the full Senate passed SB184, and it will now go to the House and be assigned to a committee. It is likely the House will substitute the Senate version for its own.

ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your Alabama House Member and ask him/her to vote YES on SB184 and/or HB266.

OTHER ISSUES:

HB322, sponsored by Rep. Scott Stadthagen, requires public K-12 schools to designate use of rooms on the basis of biological sex in which students may be in various stages of undress. The bill passed the House and now goes to the Senate.

HB261, sponsored by Rep. Andrew Sorrell, bans chemical abortions in Alabama. The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and will now go to the full House for a vote.

Continue to pray for Greg Davis, Joe Godfrey, and Eric Johnston as we walk the halls of the Alabama Legislature and advocate for a biblical perspective on the moral issues facing our state. Pray, too, for the legislators and staff that work at the State House and their families.