Legislative Update – Week 13 (Last Week of the Session)

The Alabama Legislature adjourned for the last time during the 2017 Regular Session on Friday, May 19, but there is talk that a Special Session may be called sometime during the summer. During the last week of the session, the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) bill (HB354) was brought to the floor of the Senate TWICE, but both times there were enough people lined up to speak against the bill that it was carried over. Because State Senators were working to get last minute bills passed during the closing days of the session, they did not want to take up any bills that would require lengthy filibusters, so we were successful in stopping the DFS bill this year. We expect it to come back next year (or even during the Special Session, should one be called by the Governor). It is important for everyone to contact their House Member and State Senator during the current break in sessions and encourage him/her to oppose the DFS bill when it comes up again.

Besides being bad for the economy, an unnamed source has confirmed what we were already saying – that if Daily Fantasy Sports betting is legalized, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians will be able to force Alabama to sign a compact allowing them to open full-fledged casinos with Class III gambling (roulette, black jack, etc.) and possibly even opening new casinos around the state. Though an amendment was added to HB354 that stated this bill would not give Indians an opening for signing a compact with the state, it would not have mattered because the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Commission alone determines what constitutes Class III gambling and what would force a compact to be signed.

Several local Sunday alcohol sales bills passed this session. Some of those bills require only a vote of the city council or county commission without a vote of the people. Some, however, require a vote of the people. If your community needs help fighting a Sunday alcohol sale vote, please check out our website, www.alcap.com for resources. I am also available to come to your community to lead a rally or share with church leaders.

One bill, HB353, passed both the House and Senate. This bill, known as the “Brunch Bill,” would allow any municipality or county that currently has Sunday alcohol sales to move the start time from noon (or 1:00 p.m. in some locations) to 10:30 a.m. ALCAP opposed this bill, but we did manage to get an amendment that requires a vote of the people if Sunday sales were originally decided by a vote of the people.

HB277, the Daycare Bill, passed the House, but failed to pass the Senate. Because of the complexities and controversies surrounding this bill, I asked our legal advisor, Eric Johnston, to write a summary of what happened with this bill. You can click here to read his synopsis.

Thank you for your prayers throughout the 2017 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. As I have stated in the past, though I am a registered lobbyist, I am more accurately your missionary to the Alabama Legislature, sharing a biblical perspective on the issues with legislators and ministering to everyone who works in the Alabama State House.

We will continue to work on these issues throughout the summer and fall, and we will be giving more time to improving our school programs (American Character Builders) during this time. Your financial support is still needed. We are entering the summer months having received about $12,000 less than we had received by this time last year, so we desperately need your prayer and financial support. If you or your church have not given anything to ALCAP and/or American Character Builders, please consider sending a check for $100 today in order to help us through the summer.  You may also click here to make an online donation.