By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Thursday, the lottery bill SB11 (including video lottery terminals) sponsored by Jim McClendon (R-Springville), was carried over after a cloture vote in the Senate.
“It is not usual for someone to cloture themselves,” said McClendon.
After explaining his bill and answering questions for two days, the Senate responded with a cloture, stopping all debate and calling on a vote, for or against cloture.
Cloture is a procedural move used by a legislative body to stop discussion on a subject and bring it to an immediate vote “up or down.” Most often, it is used to stop a filibuster. However, according to Marsh and McClendon, it was used as a vote for or against the bill without actually officially being recorded on the bill itself.
The Senate Rules Committee voted to cloture the debate at 4:00 p.m. and a vote had to be taken whether to accept the cloture or not. A “nay” vote would have allowed the discussion to continue. A “yea” vote would call for an immediate vote on the bill. The vote was 20 nays and 11 yeas, so Marsh asked for the bill to be carried over. With so little support, it is doubtful to come back for another consideration.
“There are some folks in this Chamber who didn’t want to have to vote on the bill. They were opposed to the bill for whatever reason,” McClendon said in a press conference following the vote.
“The Senate essentially voted the bill down, although they never actually voted on the bill but procedurally they killed the bill. So that bill is over with for this session. [emphasis on ‘this session’],” according to McClendon.
SB3, the lottery proposal given by Governor Bentley, sponsored by McClendon, will be first on today’s agenda.
“I will be back with that bill tomorrow. It is a simpler bill. It does not have the electronic lottery terminals. Nor does it have an immediate relief for the Medicaid fund. It is what you heard some folks out here say they wanted (a simple straightforward bill). That is what they are going to be offered,” McClendon said.
He continued, “When the dust settles on Senate Bill 3, we will compare it with the vote on Senate Bill 11 and we will see if those people that clamored for a simple bill were actually for a simple bill or whether that was just smoke and mirrors on their position.”
In the end, SB11 had two substitutes on the Floor. In the first substitute the date was moved from November 8 General Election, to a December 20 Special Election. It was written to include Houston County and White Hall, while also incorporating a change by Coleman-Madison.
A second substitute removed language on page 19 line 9, saying that pay out regulations “to a patron may not be restricted or limited by any general or local law, a local racing commission, or the commission.” That section was completely removed.
McClendon says he moved the the date from the General Election to a Special Election in an attempt to persuade the Jefferson County Republican Delegation to supporting his bill.
“It is possible that those senators had made a commitment back home and they stuck with their commitment,” said McClendon.
McClendon vowed on Wednesday to come with the same amount of force for SB3 as he did with SB11.
Included in the nays were: Sens. Greg Albritton (R- Bay Minette), Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), Slade Blackwell (R-Birmingham), Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), Paul Bussman (R-Cullman), Clyde Chambliss (R-Montgomery), Vivianne Figures (D-Mobile), Rusty Glover (R-Semmes), Bill Hightower (R-Mobile), Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison), Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro), Tim Melson (R-Florence), Arthur Orr (R-Dacatur), Trip Pittman (R-Daphne), Greg Reed (R-Jasper), Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), Clay Scofield (R-Arab), Harri Anne Smith (I-Slocomb), Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield), and Jabo Wagonner (R-Vestavia Hills).
Included in the yeas were: Sens. Billy Beasley (D-Clayton), Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham), Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), Priscilla Dunn (D-Bessemer), Jimmy Holley (R-Elba), Del Marsh (R-Anniston), Jim McClendon (R-Springville), Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery), Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro), Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham), and Cam Ward (R-Alabaster).
Absent from the Floor were: Hank Sanders (D-Selma), Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville), Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), and Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City).