Legislative Update 3/12/2021 Week 5

Gambling

Well, apparently, many Alabama Senators are obsessed with gambling. The lottery/casino bill failed to garner enough votes this week to pass out of the Alabama Senate, so immediately SIX new lottery bills were introduced. Senate Bill 309 (SB309), SB310 and SB311 were introduced by Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston); SB318 was introduced by Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman); and SB319 and SB320 were introduced by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville). Marsh’s bills were meant to be enabling legislation for SB214 had it passed and some believe the original bill could come back. Some of the lottery bills are for a lottery “only,” but involve Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) that are like slot machines and could be placed all over the state in restaurants and convenience stores. It is likely, too, that handheld devices could be used to “play the lottery.” All of this will make gambling pervasive in the state.

In addition, if a constitutional amendment is passed that legalizes a state-sponsored lottery, this could incentivize the Poarch Creek Indians to demand that a compact be signed allowing them to have full-fledged casinos and perhaps add one or two more casinos in the state that would be under their jurisdiction.

The gambling bosses are not giving up and going away quietly! We must continue to flood the phones and email boxes of Alabama senators asking them to oppose ALL gambling bills!

Sen. Del Marsh admitted to AL.com that pastors and church members calling their state senators made a difference in changing some of the votes on his expansive gambling bill.

We must not give up fighting for family values in our state! We must not allow the Alabama Legislature to add a new bureaucracy (“Gambling Commission”), target the poorest citizens of our state with fraudulent promises of “striking it rich,” while letting gambling bosses and lottery management companies run our state, and we must not allow the legislators to become dependent on gambling revenues to finance state government and then having to “prop up” the gambling enterprises later when the revenues begin to decline. (The state of New York is considering a bail out of the casinos in their state because they are not bringing in as much money as they promised and they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Click here to read the article about this.)

ACTION ALERT: Call your Alabama Senator TODAY and ask him/her to vote NO on ALL gambling bills! 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.

“Medical’ Marijuana

SB46, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), which passed the Senate last week, was in the House Judiciary Committee this week. A public hearing was held, but a vote will not be taken until next week on whether or not to send the bill to the House floor for a vote. To their credit, the House is also requiring the bill be approved by the House Health Committee, which will deliberate on the bill once it clears the House Judiciary Committee.

ACTION ALERT: Please contact your Alabama House Representative and ask him/her to vote NO on SB46. 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 House Member. Enter your zip-code. You will be directed to a page where you must scroll down to find your State Legislator.

Yoga

HB246, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Gray (D-Opelika), passed the full House. It now goes to the Senate. We were unable to get an amendment on the bill requiring that parents sign a disclosure document that acknowledges that Yoga is intrinsically tied to the Hindu religion, but we hope to get that amendment added in the Senate. We would prefer that the Senate not pass the bill (amended or not).

ACTION ALERT: Please contact your Alabama Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on HB246. 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.

Alcohol

The bills legalizing direct delivery of alcoholic beverages to the homes of individuals (there are several) are still making their way through the Legislature. ALCAP opposes all of these bills.

SB287, which will result in the privatization of liquor stores in Alabama and will mean more stores, open longer hours and on more days, with more people drinking, continues to be of concern. We are watching this legislation very closely.

A new bill, SB334, sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), would legalize the purchase of alcoholic beverages at drive-thru windows. What could possibly go wrong with this?! (Note the sarcasm!) ALCAP obviously opposes this.

Vulnerable Child Accountability and Protection Act (VCAP) The senate version of this bill (SB10) passed the Senate last week and received a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee this week. The House version (HB1) already passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with an amendment. We expect the Senate version to do the same when the committee votes on it next week. SB10 will then go to the full House for debate and a vote. Pray that this bill will pass. It protects children from receiving hormone blockers or surgery for the purpose of trying to change their sex.

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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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