Bipartisan bill would give retirees a one-time bonus

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Some Republicans in the Senate and at least one Democrat in the State House of Representatives believe certain retired educators should receive a one-time, lump sum payment.

Republican Senator Gerald Dial, who is leading the charge, is joined by Senate colleagues Jimmy Holley, Jim McClendon, Steve Livingston, Tom Whatley and Cam Ward to sponsor SB3. In the House, Rep. Craig Ford is carrying an identical bill that will provide a one-time payment for former educators and beneficiaries who receive retirement benefits from the Teachers’ Retirement Systems (TRS). Read More

ALFA Hits Jackpot For 20 Years Straight But Doesn’t Want You To

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Will blame, incrimination and meddling be the legacy of the circular firing squad known as the 2016 Special Legislative Session?

Unrelenting lobbying by various groups helped kill Governor Robert Bentley’s lottery bill SB3, which was carried by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville), namely, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, those backing GreeneTrack, VictoryLand and Alabama Farmers Association (ALFA).

Each group lost something in the last minute mugging of the lottery bill… except ALFA.
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Reaction to Senate’s Killing of Lottery Bill

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, August 25, as the debate in the Alabama House of Representatives raged on, about what their version of lottery bill SB3 should look like, and as more amendments were added, it became increasingly doubtful that the House and the Senate would be able to bridge the chasm between the two and concur.

The Senate appointed a conference committee just after midnight, when the House finally passed the bill on a reconsider motion (it originally failed). Instead, the Senate recessed until 10 am and promptly recessed again for two hours. When they came back, Democratic Senators, whose support had been essential to passing the bill in the first place, began filibustering the bill. After another recess the Senate voted “NO” on concurring with the bill and did not appoint a conference committee to resolve the issues with the House. SB3 is dead and there is not enough legislative days left in the Special Session (three) to pass a new bill from scratch or even those other lottery bills that were introduced but not yet acted upon by committees in their house of origin.
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Lottery Killed in Senate

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Early on Friday, August 26, a jubilant Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “We came out with a victory from the House, not us, but a victory for the people of this state.” That Bentley and Bentley’s staff have absolutely no idea what is happening in in the Alabama legislature, could not be any more obvious than at that moment.

While the Governor was taking his victory lap after midnight with the exhausted capital press corps, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and lottery bill sponsor, Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville), were desperately trying to find a plan to save the lottery.
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Judge Shashy Orders Merrill to put BIR Amendment on November 8 Ballot

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, August 26, Judge William Shashy ruled in favor of the Chilton County Healthcare Authority and Sibley Reynolds who asked the court to make Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) put the BIR amendment on the November 8 ballot.

Shashy wrote: this court order and decrees that the Secretary is directed to submit and required to take any other necessary action to include the proposed constitutional amendment passed by the legislature in SB7, as amended, on or before the seventy fourth legislative day before the November 8, 2016 General Election for inclusion on the ballot for that general election.”
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Bussman Says Lottery Was Flawed Process

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, August 27, State Senator Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) said that lottery bill SB3, which was killed by the Senate on Friday, “Was filled with problems.”

Sen. Bussman wrote in a statement, “Yesterday the Senate failed to concur with the House version of the lottery bill, killing the bill for the Special Session. The entire bill was filled with problems. The bill did not even say what kind of games would be allowed, Scratch off, Powerball, or Megaball, etc. It did not determine what percentage of the lottery the State would keep (25, 35 or 50 percent). It did not say where all the money would go. It did not assure a fair system to the players, odds and prize percentage to be determined later.”
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Today is the Great Lottery Showdown

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

This is like a Western with no gunplay. Today, two roughly evenly matched groups of Republican lawmakers are going to square off in the Alabama House of Representatives to decide the fate of Governor Robert Bentley’s (R) State General Fund lottery constitutional amendment, Senate Bill Three (SB3).

SB3 was sponsored by State Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville). Even though Republicans have a commanding super majority in the House, it will be Democrats who decide which group of GOP Representatives get to declare their victory at the end of the day. As increasingly is becoming common in the Alabama legislature, it is not Democrats versus Republicans, but dueling factions of Republicans battling each other. Each side has to reach across the aisle to the Democratic minority to find allies to use against their fellow Republican lawmakers in today’s showdown.
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Bentley Says Committee Vote Was a Step in the Right Direction

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, August 24, the Alabama House of Representative Committee on Tourism and Economic Development passed Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s (R) lottery plan out of committee with a favorable report.

Afterwards, Gov. Bentley spoke to reporters. The Governor said that today’s committee vote in favor of the lottery, “Was a step in the right direction.”

Gov. Bentley said, “This is not about a lottery this is about the people we serve.” “The people are asking for the opportunity to help their neighbor and other people.”
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Lottery Is Dead For November 8 Ballot and Foreseeable Future

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate debated the lottery for four days of this Special Session. On Tuesday, August 23, it took the Alabama House of Representatives just a few minutes to effectively kill the lottery, without ever even discussing it in a committee.

Freshly energized lottery opponents used the tight timeline and a rarely used parliamentary maneuver to kill the lottery bill for the November 8 ballot. Wednesday, August 24, was the last day for the lottery bill to pass out of the House in time for the November 8 Presidential election. Inexplicably the House chose not to meet on Saturday or Monday. It was a fatal mistake by the House leadership. The leadership had assigned State Senator Jim McClendon’s (R-Springville) Senate Bill 3 to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee; but there was no scheduled meeting of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
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Bentley Lottery Passes the Senate

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, August 19, 2016, after three days spent debating a much more ambitious lottery proposal, the Senate finally agreed to pass a lottery bill similar to the one first asked for by Governor Robert Bentley (R).

Senate Bill 3 passed 21 to 12.

A bipartisan group of Senators including Beasley, Blackwell, Coleman-Madison, Dial, Dunn, Figures, Holley, Holtzclaw, Livingston, Marsh, McClendon, Melson, Reed, Ross, Sanford, Scofield, Singleton, Smitherman, Ward, Whatley, and Williams voted for the controversial constitutional measure amending Alabama’s Constitution.
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