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.

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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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