7 Things: U.S. Senate race tightens, PCI continue gaming push, State Sen. Orr ready to criminalize sanctuary cities and more …
7. Huntsville making sure all citizens know how important the Census is
- At Huntsville’s city hall, Ramon Santiago and Mayor Tommy Battle emphasized the importance of the upcoming 2020 Census in English and Spanish to all those in attendance.
- Battle discussed how much money the area gets from the federal government and how much could be lost if people don’t respond to the Census, specifically saying that “an average of $1,500 of federal aid that comes to the area (per person).” He added, “So, losing 10 counts means you’re losing $15,000 in your community.”
6. Jeff Coleman brandishes a bat in campaign ad
- Congressional candidate Jeff Coleman is running a new TV ad where he introduces the audience to a baseball bat called “The Respect Her” that he would make his daughters’ date sign before they were allowed to take them out.
- If that wasn’t enough, Coleman says the lesson for the dates was “respect, boundaries, honor and integrity.” He closed the ad with a promise to protect your family, stating “I protected my girls like I’ll protect your family in Congress. Sometimes, a little visual aid helps.” He is running to replace Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) in the Second Congressional District.
5. Now Democrats are going after Barr
- The House Judiciary Committee has announced that they will be interrogating U.S. Attorney General William Barr on March 31. Meanwhile, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) with other lawmakers are calling on Barr to resign.
- Blumenthal said that Barr should “be ashamed and embarrassed and resign as a result of his action directly interfering in the independent prosecution of Roger Stone,” as well as adding that this is an example of President Donald Trump politically interfering “to alter the independent decisions of the Department of Justice.”
4. Medical marijuana has been introduced in the legislature
- The medical marijuana bill by State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence) has officially been introduced to the state legislature, which has been anticipated.
- If the bill were to become law, patients would have to go see a state-approved doctor to get a prescription and then obtain a “medical cannabis card.” Anyone looking to process, dispense, cultivate, transport or test cannabis would have to get a license through the state Medical Cannabis Commission.
3. Being a sanctuary city could become a felony
- State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) has a bill that would make Alabama cities that are operating as sanctuary cities a Class C felony. That bill has now advanced by the Alabama Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee.
- The bill would mandate: “It is the policy of this state to discharge illegal immigration by complying with all federal immigration laws and assisting and fully cooperating with federal immigration authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.”
2. Not everyone thinks all gaming talk is dead this legislative session
- The Poarch Band of Creek Indians continue to push their latest plan for expanded gaming in Alabama. Their “Winning for Alabama” proposal provides $1 billion upfront and $350 million a year to the state coffers, but the issue of other gaming such as the lottery and quasi-legal dog track bingo machines will need to be resolved before this happens.
- This all seems very unlikely to occur this year, as Governor Kay Ivey has scuttled any real chance of gaming legislation this session by calling for the creation of “a small working group of some of Alabama’s most distinguished citizens, to begin working, to gather all the facts on how much money we could really gain if some form of gaming expansion occurred.” The group’s work will provide cover to legislators who don’t want to move on this issue.
1. Sessions still leads but the race tightens
- A new poll shows former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is still leading the three-way race for the Republican nomination, and the right to beat U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November, against former Auburn football head coach Tommy Tuberville and U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope).
- The Alabama Daily News, WBRC and WAFF poll shows all three candidates trouncing Jones. Sessions has a lead with 31%, closely followed by Tuberville with 29% while Byrne has 17%.