7 Things: Alabama State Senate moves gambling forward, Alabama suspends J&J vaccine, Biden wants troops out of Afghanistan by 9/11 and more …
7. Senate passes bill for college athletes to get paid
- Legislation that would allow college athletes to be paid for their image, likeness and name has been passed by the Alabama State Senate, but an amendment was added so it will have to go back through the House of Representatives before being signed by Governor Kay Ivey.
- The bill wouldn’t actually take effect until the NCAA decides to allow students to make money off their name, image and likeness. The NCAA has expressed that it would prefer for federal legislation be passed instead of that by states.
6. Constitutional amendment to keep the Supreme Court at 9 judges
- As Democrats have entertained the idea of packing the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Representatives Mo Brooks (R-AL), Ken Buck (R-CO), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ted Budd (R-NC) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) are cosponsoring a constitutional amendment that would keep the number of Supreme Court judges to nine.
- This comes in response to President Joe Biden calling for a 36-member commission to study packing the court. The commission is also meant to study possible changes to “the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”
5. Officer and police chief in Minnesota resign, mayor wants to disarm the police
- In Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon have resigned after Potter shot Daunte Wright on Sunday. Gannon has claimed that the shooting was an accident, maintaining Potter meant to grab her taser.
- Oddly, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot has said that the resignation from Potter came without it being asked for. At a press conference, Elliot stated he doesn’t “believe that officers need to necessarily have weapons, you know, every time they’re making a traffic stop or engaged in situations that don’t necessarily call for weapons.”
4. AG Marshall: Keep ethics laws in mind with federal spending
- At a press conference, Attorney General Steve Marshall discussed spending federal dollars coming to Alabama and reminded public officials to keep open meetings law and ethics law in mind. Marshall made these comments as Alabama is expected to receive $4 billion from the “American Rescue Plan.”
- As this is an unprecedented amount of federal money coming to the state, Marshall reminded officials to “guard against the appearance of or the reality that this money is being used for personal gain or for the gain of your family members or business partners.” The funds coming to Alabama will be good to use until the end of 2024.
3. Biden plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 9/11
- It’s been reported that President Joe Biden has plans to remove all 2,500 United States troops from Afghanistan by September 11, and he’s expected to officially announce the plans today. Under President Donald Trump’s administration, the original deadline to have troops out of Afghanistan was May 1.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said removing troops “is a grave mistake,” adding, “It is a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished, an abdication of American leadership.” May 1, it will be 10 years since Osama bin Laden was killed. September 11 will be 20 years since al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
2. Alabama stops Johnson & Johnson vaccines
- Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has announced that the state will pause offering the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine after six reports of blood clots in the country that’s suspected to be linked to the vaccine.
- Governor Kay Ivey released a statement on the vaccine saying that it’s “important to know that the adverse effects potentially stemming from the Johnson & Johnson shot have been extremely rare in the country,” but they’re pausing this vaccine as a precaution.
1. Lottery, casino gambling and sports betting pass the Alabama Senate
- The Alabama Senate finally passed a bill that would allow a lottery, casino gaming and sports betting in Alabama. This is the culmination of a long effort by State Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston) which finally passed 25-9 after Sens. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road), Chris Elliott (R-Daphne), Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) and David Sessions (R-Grand Bay) changed their previous “no” votes from previous attempts to “yes” votes.
- The lottery was never the hangup here. Casino gaming was, and this bill would limit where casinos could go. They would only be authorized at specific sites in Jefferson County, Mobile County, Macon County, Greene County, Houston County and either Jackson or DeKalb County. The licenses will require they go to the highest bidders, but the existing operators in those counties get the right to make a final bid and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians would have the right to a final bid in Jackson/DeKalb counties.