Why would I do that?’ Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says special session on lottery, gambling unlikely…Read more.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday it was unlikely she would call a special legislative session to force lawmakers to take another look at letting voters decide whether a lottery and casinos should be set up in the state.


“Why would I do that?” Ivey said while speaking to the media in Montgomery. “They cannot come to a consensus among themselves. Why would I spend the time and effort and money on a special session?”

Ivey expressed disappointment with the Senate’s late-night vote on April 30, which defeated the latest gambling and lottery package. She wanted the people to have a chance to vote on the issue and was disappointed they wouldn’t get that opportunity this year, as the Senate did not reconsider the vote before the legislative session recessed for the year.

Sponsored by Rep. Chris Blackshear, R-Smiths Station, HB151 established the constitutional amendment to for lottery and casino gambling. The amendment would be enshrined into the state Constitution if voters supported it during a special election that was to be set for Aug. 20.

With a 20-15 vote, HB151 failed passage by one vote. Since HB151 was a constitutional amendment, it required 21 votes for passage, or three-fifths support from the 35-member Senate.

“Every year, it’s always wait till next year,” Ivey said. “I think people are tired of waiting until the next time.”
At least one Republican lawmaker suggested that the Alabama House should play hardball and force a possible special session.
Rep. Brett Easterbrook, R-Fruitdale, while on the House floor earlier Thursday, said the chamber should consider holding up the state’s education budget during the final day of session if the Senate did not adopt the lottery and gambling package.
“We had a solution,” Easterbrook said. “It’s the bill we passed. It was the gambling bill and the lottery. We’ve kicked that can down the road for years and years and years. This body push it through this year. I would like to see (the education budget) bill carried over and let the governor call a special session and let’s fixed this problem.”

He added, “We are required to pass this budget. I would postpone it.”

The overall gambling package, outlined in the 127-page HB152, included lottery to fund education and authorizes up to seven casinos allowing for slot machines or “electronic gaming. The casinos would have been located at existing dog tracks and bingo halls throughout the state.
The seven casinos would have been prohibited from having table games that use cards, dice, or a dealer. The other three casinos would be full-scale casinos on tribal lands operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery under a compact negotiated with the governor. Sports betting was also not included within the legislation.
The legislation would have given voters the first crack at deciding whether a paper lottery should be created in Alabama for the first time since 1999. The proceeds from HB152 goes mostly toward funding education. Alabama is one of only five states without a lottery.

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