Alabama State Senator Jim McClendon is currently proposing a lottery bill that would legalize a state lottery as well as include video lottery terminals within the local dog race tracks. This bill was procedurally killed according to McClendon when the Alabama Senate members voted against a procedure that would have seen a vote taken place by residents in the state on the matter.
The bill is dead now, at least for this session, as a vote of 20 to 11 by state senators rejected a cloture motion that would stop the debate on the state lottery. According to McClendon, if the motion had been approved, it would have placed a vote on the ballot where residents could decide if they wanted to see a lottery be legalized. The Senator stated that the proposal would have likely had the votes to pass.
McClendon has plans today to begin pushing another bill on the subject of the lottery, this once backed by Governor Robert Bentley. The Governor’s proposed legislation is considered simpler, at least according to McClendon. The measure does not include electronic lottery gaming machines, just the lottery.
After the vote, Bentley stated in a press conference that he is cautiously optimistic that passage of his bill will be granted. On Thursday, amendments had been made to his bill that he is in agreement with. Senators were talked to by Bentley who had shown opposition to the bill and the Governor believes these Senators will be in support.
During the session, the Senators approved two amendments to the proposed bill by the governor. The Senate will be back in session today to discuss the measure. One such amendment that was approved was proposed by Senator Bobby Singleton. This amendment was that no other form of gambling be allowed or doing away with any current legal form of gambling.
As far as McClendon’s bill is concerned, amendments were made as well in an attempt to gain support but these efforts were seemingly fruitless. Basically in the state of Alabama, there are senate members who are opposed to gambling altogether or those who may be willing to allow a lottery. Adding in additional gaming has caused lawmakers to back off in support. McClendon added more locations for electronic lottery terminals to try and appease lawmakers, including the areas of Lowndes and Houston counties.
McClendon feels that the people of Alabama want to have the ability to vote on the lottery, as he receives messages from voters stating they want the option, via email, social media and telephone calls. Senator Linda Coleman-Madison has come out in support of the measure and feels her fellow lawmakers are playing a game to change the bill so that if a vote were to take place on a special election date rather than the general election this year, the voters would essentially be put ‘to sleep’ and they would not come out and vote on the measure, an act that she says is voter suppression.
Coleman-Madison stated that this is a disservice and a disgrace and she is ashamed of the body of government. If the legislature is not going to approve a lottery bill then it is time to vote on real tax reform within the state. Coleman-Madison feels that a redo of taxes is in order to bring in the much needed funds for the state.