By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—The lottery bill, SB11, was carried over at the call of the chair late Wednesday, with few Republican senators present. It could resurface Thursday morning, should more lawmakers come onboard.
Jim McClendon (R-Springville) brought SB11 to the Senate Floor on Wednesday. It passed out of Tourism and Marketing Committee on Tuesday. He said he brought this bill to the attention of the Legislature, as a result of his constituents asking him to pass a bill, so they did not have to drive to neighboring states to buy lottery tickets.
During the morning session, McClendon explained, in detail, his legislation and its impact. He outlined all of the concerns that his fellow senators and addressed them in order. However, he still did not have the votes for passage by afternoon.
“Those who have made suggestions, that I have incorporated, I hope you will support my bill,” said McClendon. He continued, “Vote to do what this bill is all about, which is to give your constituents the right to vote.”
When the Senate reconvened in the afternoon, only around 20 of 35 senators were present at any one time in the Senate Chamber, eight of whom were Democrats.
As of mid-afternoon, the senators observed in the chamber periodically were: Sens. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), Billy Beasley (D-Clayton), Slade Blackwell (R-Birmingham), Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), Paul Bussman (R-Cullman), Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham), Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), Priscilla Dunn (D-Bessemer), Viviane Figures (D-Mobile), Bill Hightower (R-Mobile), Jimmy Holley (R-Elba), Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison), Jim McClendon (R-Springville), Arthur Orr (R-Madison), Trip Pittman (R-Daphne), Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery), Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), Clay Scofield (R-Arab), Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro), Harri Anne Smith (I-Slocumb), Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham), Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield), Jabo Walker (R-Vestavia Hills) and Cam Ward (R-Alabaster).
Some senators remained in the Chamber, while others periodically came on and off.
Senators not observed on the Floor during the mid-afternoon count: Sens. Greg Albritton (R-Bay Minette), Clyde Chambliss (R-Montgomery), Rusty Glover (R-Semmes), Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro), Tim Melson (R-Florence), Greg Reed (R-Jasper), Hank Sanders (R-Selma), Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), and Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City).
Dial chastised those senators not present by saying there was a noticeable absence of members. “Maybe they have made up their mind and don’t care and have gone back to their offices. I hope they are working on substitutes. Maybe they have their speakers on, and have some important information to share.”
“All we can do is let the people vote on the lottery,” said Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) at the podium.
Dial cautioned senators not to think that they were smarter than their constituents, by making a decision for them, as to whether they should not be able to vote on the bill.
“This is not a vote for the lottery, but a vote for the people to decide,” said McClendon.
Coleman-Madison questioned the subpoena power of the Commission. McClendon responded that having recently discovered committees with subpoena power, but no consequences for not responding, had caused concern. “Language was put in [this bill] so that the subpoena will be meaningful and responded to. If not, there will be consequences.”
By late afternoon, the bill was carried over to the call of the chair.
The Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 10:30 a.m. today.