By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—“Not just about a lottery,” Gov. Bentley began, as he announced the August 15, 2016 Special Legislative Session, “This is about our people.”
In a short video, Bentley said he wanted the legislature to work together to solve the decades-old budget problems, to protect the “Most vulnerable and helpless” who need adequate healthcare.
Earlier in the week Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) emphasized the need for a special session to address funding for Medicaid and the Regional Care Organizations (RCOs). “The legislature made a commitment to fund the RCOs and in speaking with my colleagues in the Senate and House, I am hopeful that we will continue to make progress toward achieving that goal,” said Marsh. “It important that we continue this revolutionary transformation of the Medicaid system, which is acting as a pilot for continued healthcare reforms and is projected to save the state millions of dollars over time.”
Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) who proposed the legislation said he believes the August 15 call will ensure the Constitutional Amendment needed to authorize a lottery will appear on the November General Election ballot. “What I am seeking and what I want is to have the highest voter participation to give the greatest number of our 3.1 million voters a chance and make it easy for them to express themselves, He said. “It is expected to have a 75 percent turnout which will certainly give strong direction to the Legislature whether the people of Alabama want a lottery or don’t want a lottery.”
After many days of backroom negotiations, Gov. Bentley has finally set a date for the highly anticipated Special Session.