Legislative Update 4/16/2021 Week 9

GAMBLING

The Alabama Senate passed SB319 on Tuesday evening. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon, started out as a “lottery only” bill. However, a substitute was introduced that included everything that had been found in Sen. Del Marsh’s bill, SB214, that failed to pass earlier in the session. SB319 now includes a state-sponsored lottery, sports betting, casinos throughout the state and a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians that will allow them to have full-fledged casinos at their current locations and allow them to build a new casino in Northeast Alabama. Perhaps the worst part of this bill is that it will allow online gambling, which will put a casino in the hands of anyone with a smart phone or tablet (including children who know how to circumvent age restrictions).

SB319 now goes to the House of Representatives for a vote. The President Pro-Tem of the Senate, Sen. Greg Reed, announced on Thursday that meetings are already taking place behind the scenes in order to work out any details to insure that the House will pass this bill and additional enabling legislation.

We must immediately begin contacting members of the Alabama House of Representatives asking them to oppose SB319. They could have this bill in committee next week and it may even get to the floor of the House for a vote sometime next week.The Senate passed SB319 by a vote count of 23-9. They only needed 21 votes to pass the bill. Four senators who voted against the original bill sponsored by Sen. Marsh changed their votes to “yes.” Those senators were Barfoot, Elliott, Gudger and Sessions. While we are disappointed in these individuals who changed their votes, along with others who voted “yes” on gambling expansion, we want to thank the following senators who stood strong in opposition and voted “no.” Please thank them for their courage and for not caving to the immense pressure that was being applied to these senators by the Governor, the senate leadership and the gambling lobby: Gerald Allen (Tuscaloosa); Tom Butler (Huntsville); Clyde Chambliss (Prattville); Sam Givhan (Huntsville); Arthur Orr (Decatur); Dan Roberts (Birmingham); Clay Scofield (Guntersville); Shay Shelnutt (Trussville); and Larry Stutts (Sheffield). Click here to send your thank you to the State Senator’s listed above. Click on their picture and fill out the form to continue with your message.

ACTION ALERT: Contact your member of the Alabama House of Representatives and ask him/her to vote NO on SB319. Call, email, text or write TODAY! 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 House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

“MEDICAL” MARIJUANA

The “medical” marijuana bill (SB46, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson and already passed by the full senate) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week and the House Health Committee this week. It now will go to the House Rules Committee to be placed on the calendar for debate by the full House of Representatives. This bill is designed to be a “stepping stone” to legalizing recreational marijuana in spite of denials by the the sponsor. In every state where “medical” marijuana has been legalized, recreational marijuana soon follows or is being pushed. ALCAP does not oppose research being done and medicines being developed that might use the cannabis plant, but this bill does not insure dosages and purity of a drug that is mind-altering and addictive. This bill will make marijuana available to children and youth, and it sends a message that marijuana is safe — IT IS NOT!

ACTION ALERT: Contact your House member today and ask him/her to vote NO on SB46 (“medical” marijuana). 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 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)

SB10, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, passed out of the Senate and out of the House Health Committee, but it has stalled for the time being. I reached out to the Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, and he assured me that negotiations are on-going to try and bring this bill to the House floor. This bill will protect children from hormone blockers and surgical procedures in order to change their birth sex before they are old enough to make that decision for themselves.

ACTION ALERT: While you are contacting House members about voting NO on gambling expansion and voting NO on “medical” marijuana, ask them to vote YES on SB10 (the VCAP bill). With only 7 legislative days left in this session, time is running out to pass this important bill.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol continues to flow in Montgomery! This week, a bill legalizing direct delivery of alcohol to individual residences was signed into law by Governor Ivey. Other bills still making their way through the Alabama Legislature include one that would allow wineries to ship directly to residents in the state and another bill that will allow drive-through sales of alcoholic beverages. (What could possibly go wrong with all of these bills that remove decades of restrictions on a mind-altering and addictive drug?! — NOTE: I am being sarcastic!)

YOGA

HB246, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Gray, has passed the House and it passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. We expect this bill to come the full senate soon since, as we stated already, there are only 7 legislative days left. This bill will allow a Hindu practice to be taught in public K-12 grades. The proponents argue publicly that it is “just stretching exercises.” However, stretching exercises are already allowed in public schools. Yoga is a Hindu practice that involves Eastern meditation and is heavily religious in nature. This picture was taken from Rep. Gray’s FaceBook page.

ACTION ALERT: Contact your Alabama State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on HB246 (the “Yoga” bill). 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.

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

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