SB293 and SB294, the two gambling-expansion bills sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton, were in the Senate Tourism Committee this week. ALCAP spoke against both bills during a public hearing, as did a number of other individuals, but as expected, both bills were given a favorable report. They will now go to the full Senate for debate. It is possible they could be on the Senate Special Order Calendar next week, but we hope they will be held up until after Spring Break, which is the week of March 21-25. That means there will only be 7 legislative days left in the 2022 Regular Session and less time for the House to handle the bills if they pass the Senate.
ACTION TO TAKE:Contact your Alabama State Senator today and ask him/her to vote NO or be absent during the voting on SB293 and SB294. The Senate must have 21 votes in order to pass a constitutional amendment, so not voting is the same as voting “no.” [If Sen. Garlan Gudger is your State Senator, contact him, and thank him for voting no on these two bills in the Senate Tourism Committee (he was the only one to vote no). Ask him to also vote NO (or not to vote) on the floor of the Senate when the bill is debated.]
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.
Over the objections of ALCAP the House passed HB395, sponsored by Rep. Joe Lovvorn. This bill allows major universities and up to three 2-year community colleges to teach students how to brew beer and distill alcoholic beverages. This bill will also allow a substantial amount of what they produce to be stored on campus. What could possibly go wrong with that?! I’m sure fraternities will never target those storage areas! (Note the sarcasm!)
One amendment that we did support allows only those schools with full-fledged police forces to participate in this program. However, think about the irony of that amendment — even the sponsors recognize that the strongest security possible will be needed because alcohol is involved.
ALCAP also shared our concern that under-aged students will be tasting the alcohol they produce. It is unlikely that students who work at brewing and/or distilling alcoholic beverages will refrain from tasting what they have produced.
HB234, sponsored by Rep. Neil Rafferty, has passed the House and is awaiting committee action in the Senate Tourism Committee. If passed and signed into law by the Governor, this bill will allow food trucks in Birmingham to serve alcoholic beverages as long as they are set up in an already existing entertainment district (a restriction for which ALCAP advocated).
HB119, sponsored by Rep. Gil Isbell, has passed the House and was given a favorable report out of the Senate Tourism Committee with one amendment added. The bill originally would allow beer and wine to be sold at convenience and liquor store drive-thru windows, but the amendment, added by Sen. Steve Livingston, added “spirits” (that is, hard liquor) to be sold at drive-thru windows, as well. ALCAP believes this bill is setting the stage for fast food restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages at their drive-thru windows.
VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)
SB184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, has passed the Senate and was given a favorable report by the House Judiciary Committee. We are waiting for it to be placed on the House Special Order Calendar for the full House to debate the bill. Last year, a similar bill got this far. However, it was placed at the end of a long Special Order Calendar on the last day of the 2021 Session, knowing the House would never get to the bill before time ran out. This year we are hoping for a vote on the bill. ALCAP talked with the Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, who assured us the bill would get a fair hearing in the House. We are confident that, if it gets on the Special Order Calendar, the House will pass the bill.
This bill protects children from abusive parents who might permanently alter their child’s sexual appearance through hormone blockers and surgical procedures until those children are 19 years of age and capable of making such a major decision on their own. There are exceptions for the use of hormone blockers, but they may not be used for the purpose of changing a child’s sexual appearance.
Continue to pray for Greg Davis, Joe Godfrey, and Eric Johnston as we walk the halls of the Alabama Legislature and advocate for a biblical perspective on the moral issues facing our state. Pray, too, for the legislators and staff that work at the State House and their families.