Sen. Garlan Gudger’s lottery bill (SB318) was withdrawn from the Senate Tourism Committee on Wednesday of this week, but the sponsor and committee chairman (Sen. Del Marsh) acknowledged that it could be brought back at any point “if needed” (their words).
Sen. Jim McClendon’s lottery bills (SB319 and SB320) were passed out of committee on Wednesday and had their second reading on the Senate floor Thursday morning. He did amend his bills to take out the video lottery terminals (VLTs, which are slot machines that supposedly play the lottery), but his bills still call for a vote of the people to legalize a state-sponsored lottery.
Sen. Marsh’s “enabling legislation” bills (SB309, SB310 and SB311) that are written to detail how his original bill (SB214) that calls for a state-sponsored lottery and several state-sanctioned casinos, as well as requiring a compact be signed with the Poarch Creek Indians, allowing them to have full-fledged casinos and build at least one additional casino, were passed out of the Senate Tourism Committee and had their second reading on Thursday on the Senate Floor. Sen. Marsh said he wanted to pass these bills “in case” they were needed later. This leads many of us to believe that he fully intends for the original legislation that was contained in SB214 to come back in some form. Otherwise, there was no need to pass enabling legislation.
The battle over gambling has NOT ended. Everyone must stay vigilant. In press reports following the defeat of Sen. Marsh’s SB214 week before last, Marsh admitted that pastors calling the offices of their senators DID have an impact on his gambling bill being defeated. This shows how important it is for pastors and church members to flood the email boxes and phone lines of their state senators, encouraging them to vote NO on ANY and ALL gambling bills.
As stated above, we believe that even the so-called “lottery only” bills will be used to reinsert full-fledged casino gambling into the legislation, so we must not become complacent. There are plenty of reasons to oppose a “simple lottery only” bill, but ALCAP continues to maintain that any lottery bill will eventually result in casinos, sports betting and online gambling.
ACTION ALERT: Please contact your Alabama State Senator and encourage him/her to vote NO on ANY and ALL pro-gambling bills, including SB309, SB310, SB311, SB318, SB319 and SB320. 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.
ALCAP congratulates Rep. Ginny Shaver (R-Leesburg) on getting HB237 passed in the House. This bill is often referred to as the “Born Alive Bill.” The bill states that physicians have a duty to care for babies who are born alive after a failed abortion and establishes criminal penalties for not doing so. The bill now goes to the Senate and ALCAP urges a YES vote by the senators.
Vulnerable Child Accountability and Protection Act (VCAP)
SB10 has passed the Senate and we are still waiting for it to get to the floor of the House for a vote. Continue to pray that this bill will pass. It protects children from receiving hormone blockers or surgery specifically for the purpose of trying to change their sex.
As we shared in last week’s update, HB246, the Yoga bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Gray, passed the full House. It has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and we expect it to be on the agenda for that committee on March 31, after the Legislature returns from spring break. ALCAP is urging a NO vote by the state senators on HB246.
SB46, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson, which already passed the Senate, is still waiting to be voted out of two House committees before going to the full House for debate. There is still time to contact your Alabama House Member 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.
Alcohol-related bills continue to make their way through both houses. We have voiced our concerns about expanding the availability of alcohol in the state, but most legislators don’t seem to care about making alcohol (a mind-altering and addictive drug) more and more available. No wonder our state is seeing more and more alcohol-related problems including under-age drinking, drunk driving, etc. The Alabama Legislature will be on spring break the week of March 22-26, so there will be no ALCAP Legislative Update next week.