Legislative News

Let your Alabama State Senator hear from you!

February 12, 2021

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).

Week #2 of the Alabama Legislature

February 12, 2021

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”

February 10, 2021

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

February 10, 2021

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

February 10, 2021

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!

https://youtu.be/kuqF0uXr5wM
Gambling - A Bad Bet for Alabama

Governor’s Gambling Policy Study Committee Meeting 4/20/2020

April 20, 2020

ALCAP continues to work through this pandemic, but we are following all the social distancing recommendations in order to make sure our families are protected.

One VERY important meeting that we have been working on is the Governor’s Gambling Policy Study Committee. This group cancelled their March 30 meeting, but are scheduled to meet via Zoom this coming Monday, April 20, 2020 at 10AM (CDT).

ALCAP has been involved in securing two speakers/presenters for Monday’s meeting: Les Bernal, National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling, and John Kindt, an expert on sports betting. Both individuals have submitted their PowerPoint slides and biographical information for the Committee and each will be given about 30 minutes to make their presentations and answer questions.

EVERYONE (ALL OF YOU) is (are) invited to “log in” for the meeting by clicking on the following link…

https://algov.zoom.us/j/934234357

The agenda is posted on the Secretary of State’s open meetings webpage. Click here for the agenda.

I encourage our entire ALCAP family to join the meeting if possible in order to hear these two very knowledgeable individuals. If you are not able to log in, please take a few moments on Monday at 10AM to lift a prayer for Les Bernal and John Kindt, and to pray for the study committee as they do their work.

Thank you for your continued support of ALCAP and our school program, American Character Builders. I know that times are very difficult, but the work of defending our religious freedoms and speaking out on the issues with which Alabama churches are concerned does not stop.

The Alabama Legislature is scheduled to return to the 2020 Legislative Session on Tuesday, April 28 and ALCAP will be there and keeping you updated concerning bills on which they will be working.

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But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 (NKJV)

To e-mail us at ALCAP, click here.
To request information about American Character Builders programs for your school or church, click here.

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