Connect with us

Economy

Marsh threatens lottery legislation: Why?

Bill Britt

Published

on

A bill sponsored by State Sen. Jim McClendon giving Alabama citizens an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to allow a lottery is being questioned by one of its co-sponsors. The bi-partisan legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Jimmy Holley, Steve Livingston, Bobby Singleton, Roger Smitherman, Billy Beasley and Del Marsh.

Last week, Marsh, who is the powerful President Pro Tempore of the Senate, suddenly voiced a problem with the measure, first saying he didn’t like how the lottery funds would be distributed and later changed his story to say he opposed permitting Video Lottery Terminals at the state’s existing four racetracks.

Marsh’s quick turnabout is widely seen as a capitulation to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians who stand to lose their billion-dollar gaming monopoly if VLTs are allowed at the race courses where peri-mutual gaming is already legal. PCI owns one of the four courses, the Mobile racetrack.

None of the bill’s other co-sponsors have joined Marsh in his opposition.

Just a few years ago, Marsh sponsored a similar bill to the one now being offered by McClendon, which also provided for electronic machines being operated at the four racetracks. That bill was defeated when then-Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard made common cause with PCI to kill the legislation.

Marsh Releases Omnibus Gaming Bill, with Opposition on Fifth Floor

ADVERTISEMENT

At the time, Marsh condemned plans being offered by PCI/Hubbard and Bentley saying that the PCI/Hubbard plan created a monopoly and the governor’s plan raised taxes.

Marsh Meets the Press

In an op-ed published by APR, Marsh made a passionate plea to allow a vote on his lottery bill, which created a statewide lottery and offered machines at existing racetracks.

Del Marsh: Let the People Vote on a Lottery and Gaming

Public Service Announcement

So, why the change of heart?

Marsh has been clear that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate in 2020. But with a growing field of contenders, Marsh will need a hefty war chest, which PCI can supply.

Currently, PCI is backing U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, who has spent years cultivating the tribe’s trust. But the threat to their gambling monopoly is so dire that many believe whoever kills the lottery bill will be anointed PCI’s champion and earn their financial backing. A rapacious political calculation that places what is best for the state behind the desire for political gain of one individual and a tribe that consists of barely 3,000 people.

In Marsh’s 2015 legislation, PCI was given considerable gains as it called for the governor to enter into a compact with the tribe, which would have vastly expanded their gambling options by letting them operate Vegas-style games like blackjack, roulette and other live-dealer games. Marsh’s proposal also gave the four tracks slot machines as well as other games of chance, something McClendon’s bill strictly outlaws.

McClendon’s bill doesn’t address PCI at all and prohibits slots and live dealer games of any kind. On numerous occasions, McClendon has stated his bill’s sole purpose is to give the people a right to vote on a lottery. PCI is a nation-state within the boundaries of Alabama and is therefore not subject to state laws. It is generally believed that since the state has no say in PCI’s affairs, they should not meddle in the state’s.

If Marsh is, in fact, playing politics with the lottery bill to extract money for PCI, it wouldn’t be the first time.

During the 2010 elections, Marsh held secret meetings with PCI Vice Chair Robbie McGhee at which he asked for and received at least $100,000 in donations, which was then routed through the Republican State Leadership Committee and back to a PAC controlled by Marsh and Hubbard.

An internal report commissioned by RSLC found that the deeds perpetrated by Marsh and Hubbard were likely to be found illegal under state law.

The report said that Hubbard and Marsh hid the donations origins because at that time,  taking a contribution directly from PCI was “political suicide for a Republican candidate or public official.” 

In 2013, Marsh tried to deny he had participated in the secret meeting, as reported by APR in 2012.

However, after Marsh’s denial was reported by the Anniston Star, APR released a tape of McGhee saying it was Marsh who had come to Atmore to solicit funds from the tribe.

Marsh launches cover up of gambling money (audio included)

Marsh’s opposition to the lottery bill could see it languish without a committee vote or die on the floor of the Senate.

Even Marsh’s political allies are uncertain how far he will go to satisfy his political ambitions with several privately, suggesting he has over played his hand, and his alliance with the tribe is too obvious to have a longterm benefit.

McClendon is hoping to have SB130 before the Senate Tourism Committee as early as Tuesday, April 2, when the Legislature returns from spring break. However, there is serious concern that Marsh could delay or stop a committee vote.

Citizens who want an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment allowing for a lottery will need to keep an eye on Marsh’s dealings, as his sudden about-face may very well doom the peoples’ right to vote.

 

Advertisement

Economy

NAALC to hold public union event in Madison

The event will allow a variety of labor union members and officials to meet and discuss pertinent issues and planning. 

Josh Moon

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

The North Alabama Area Labor Council will hold a solidarity event on Saturday in Madison, with several area labor union members present to answer questions from the public. 

The event, which will start at 9 a.m. at the Steamfitters and Pipefitters Union Hall on Madison Blvd., also will allow a variety of labor union members and officials to meet and discuss pertinent issues and planning. 

According to a press release from the NAALC, a number of current representatives from area unions will be present, including members from the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1858, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 44, IAMAW Local 2766, Ironworkers Local 477, International Alliance of Theatrical and Stagehand Employees Local 900, American Postal Workers Union Local 259 and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Employees Local 27.

The union reps plan to discuss basic issues with anyone interested, such as the basic benefits of union membership and how to form a union at your local workplace. 

Continue Reading

Economy

New unemployment claims decreased last week

Fewer people joined the unemployment rolls last week compared to the week before.

Micah Danney

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 7,964 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, down from 8,581 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 

Of the claims filed between Oct. 11 and Oct. 17, there were 4,032 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s 51 percent, compared to 36 percent the previous week.

Continue Reading

Economy

Governor announces auto supplier IAC plans Alabama expansion

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that International Automotive Components Group North America Inc. plans to invest over $55.9 million in expansion projects that will create 182 jobs at two Alabama facilities.

“International Automotive Components is a leading global auto supplier, and I am pleased that this world-class company is growing significantly in Alabama and creating good jobs in Cottondale and Anniston,” Ivey said. “IAC’s growth plans show that Alabama’s dynamic auto industry continues to expand despite today’s challenging environment.”

Nick Skwiat is the executive vice president and president of IAC North America.

“Alabama was the logical choice due to its skilled workforce and proximity to the customer,” Skwiat said. “We are excited to see the continued growth of the automotive industry in Alabama and we plan to grow right along with it. We thank the Governor and Secretary Canfield for their leadership in this sector.”

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County. This facility will produce door panels and overhead systems for original equipment manufacturers. That project will create 119 jobs at the production site in Cottondale.

IAC also plans to invest $21.6 million at its manufacturing facility located in the former Fort McClellan in Anniston. That East Alabama project will create another 63 jobs.

ADVERTISEMENT

This project builds on a milestone 2014 expansion that doubled the size of the Calhoun County facility. There IAC manufactures automotive interior components and systems. Key components produced at the Anniston plant include door panels, trim systems and instrument panels for original equipment manufacturers.

IAC Group is a leading global supplier of innovative and sustainable instrument panels, consoles, door panels, overhead systems, bumper fascias and exterior ornamentation for original equipment manufacturers.

IAC is headquartered in Luxembourg and has more than 18,000 employees at 67 locations in 17 countries. The company operates manufacturing facilities in eight U.S. states.

“With operations around the globe, IAC is the kind of high-performance company that we want in Alabama’s auto supply chain to help fuel sustainable growth,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “We look forward to working with IAC and facilitating its future growth in this strategic industrial sector.”

Public Service Announcement

Danielle Winningham is the executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.

“International Automotive Components is a valued part of Tuscaloosa County’s automotive sector,” Winningham said. “We are grateful for IAC’s investment in our community and the career opportunities available to our area workforce as a result of their investment.”

“The City of Anniston is excited that IAC has made the decision to expand here. I have enjoyed working with the leadership at IAC, the Calhoun County EDC, and the state of Alabama to get this project finalized,” said Anniston Mayor Jack Draper. “This is even further evidence that Anniston is indeed open for business.”

Only Michigan has more automobile manufacturing jobs than the state of Alabama. Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Polaris, Toyota and soon Mazda all have major automobile assembly plants in the state of Alabama.

Continue Reading

Courts

Aderholt fully supports Barrett’s confirmation process

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Congressman Robert Aderholt

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, updated his constituents on the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Aderholt said, “I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms.”

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

“Senate Democrats are not seriously questioning Judge Barrett on her credentials, instead they have decided to attack her character and her beliefs,” Aderholt said. “I am disappointed to see this unfold on the national stage, but I think Judge Barrett stood strong and did well during this first week of hearings.”

“While I do not have a vote in her confirmation process, I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms when she is officially sworn in as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court,” Aderholt said.

Barrett is a Notre Dame graduate, has served on the U.S. Seventh Court of Appeals and is a former clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate,” Barrett said. “His judicial philosophy is mine, too: A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Barrett vowed to keep an open mind on any matter that comes before the court, though Democrats fear she is prepared to overturn Supreme Court precedent on abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.

That the Republican controlled committee will recommend that Barrett be confirmed appears certain. A vote to confirm Barrett to the nation’s highest court by the full Senate could occur just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

President Donald Trump has been the president of the United States for less than four years but if Barrett is confirmed, then he will have selected one third of the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett fills a place created by the death of the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.

Aderholt is in his 12th term representing Alabama’s 4th Congressional District. He faces Democratic nominee Rick Neighbors in the Nov. 3 general election.

Public Service Announcement

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement