Statehouse rejects gun bill, lottery moves ahead
April 25, 2019
Southern Torch (3749 articles)
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Statehouse rejects gun bill, lottery moves ahead

By Zach Hester, Reporter • zach@southerntorch.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Two hot button bills walked away from the floor of the statehouse with different results this week. 

The first bill, one that would dissolve the State’s requirement to obtain a permit to carry a concealed or loaded handgun in a vehicle, failed by a 6-5 vote in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) and backed by the National Rifle Association.

Sens. Beasley, Burkette, Sessions, Singleton, Smitherman, and Price voted against the bill in committee. Voting in favor were Sens. Elliott, Gudger, Jones, Melson and Marsh.  

Allen argues that citizens should not be required to pay a fee to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Sheriffs across the state say that it would cost their respective departments too much revenue and would negatively impact the safety of law enforcement officers. 

“I’m strong for the Second Amendment, but also strong for the people to possess it that are law-abiding citizens,” said DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden in a statement to Southern Torch.

The second bill was Sen. Greg Albritton’s (R-Atmore) “clean lottery” bill. The bill isn’t meant to establish a lottery in the State of Alabama, instead, if passed, it will allow the people to vote on whether or not they want a lottery. Albritton’s bill passed the Senate Tourism Committee by one vote, 6-5. 

Voting in favor of the lottery bill were Sens. Beasley, Elliott, Gudger, Jones, Price, and Marsh with Sens. Burkette, Melson, Sessions, Singleton and Smitherman voting against it. 

The concept of a “clean lottery” stems from the fact that the proposed plan would exclude any digital gaming like casino-style games or video lottery terminal, which is similar to a slot machine. 

The fiscal note on SB220 estimates an annual revenue of over $160 million after prizes and expenses. That revenue would be divided between the Alabama Trust Fund and the General Fund, and does not fund scholarship programs.

When asked about the economic impact of a lottery in DeKalb County, Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jimmy Durham stated that a lottery would have a significant impact statewide.

“The entire State of Alabama is surrounded [by states with lottery systems]. If you just go to Mentone and look at the cars going to Cloudland…and Rising Fawn, people are buying lotto tickets. You may have to bite your tongue to buy them here, but it sure beats going to another state and spending your money on their education.” Durham said that his personal favor for the lottery would depend on whether or not the bill goes toward funding Alabama’s education system. 

It has been exactly 20 years since the last time Alabamians voted on a state lottery. The new bill is expected to be up for a debate in the full Senate next week. 

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Alabama Senate passed Albritton’s lottery bill with the minimum 21 votes needed to pass an amendment to the Alabama Constitution. The final vote was 21-12. The bill now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

If the bill is approved by both houses of the Alabama Legislature, the proposal would appear on ballots next March alongside Alabama’s presidential primary ballot.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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