7 Things: Ivey signs Alabama’s abortion ban, Trump prepares an immigration plan, lottery vote gets closer and more …
7. Fantasy sports gaming bill advanced by the Alabama Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee
— The bill by Representative Kyle South (R-Fayette) would legalize fantasy sports contests like DraftKings and FanDuel. The bill has already passed the House and now goes to the full Senate for consideration. It’s likely that the bill will receive a large amount of support in the Senate as well. Interestingly, Dr. Joe Godfrey of Alabama Citizens Action Program spoke against the bill saying it would allow Alabamians to play fantasy contests on more than sports, including “award shows, political debates and spelling bees.”
6. The White House has accused chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (D-NY) of trying to duplicate the Russia investigation for political gain
— In a letter to Nadler, Pat Cipollone, counsel to the president wrote, “Congressional investigations are intended to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or pursue an unauthorized ‘do-over’ of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice.” The letter is in response to Nadler’s subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and relating materials. Nadler responded to the letter stating that they will not stop their investigation into obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuse of power.
5. Alabama House Economic Development and Tourism Committee has advanced the lottery bill
— The all-paper lottery bill will have 25 percent of funds go to the Education Trust Fund and 75 percent will go to the state general fund. Originally, the bill didn’t allocate any money to the education fund. The bill will not, as currently written, allow other gambling across the state. If the legislature passes the bill and the governor signs it, then it’ll be on the March 2020 primary ballot. It is expected to be voted on next week and the vote is expected to be very close.
4. The Department of Defense is preparing to help the Department of Homeland Security with illegal immigrants near the border
— Even though the illegal immigrants will not be housed on military bases, DHS has asked for support in the form of tents and the manpower to build tent cities. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is going to be responsible for detaining and supporting these illegal immigrants. The setup will house as many as 7,500 people, a small drop in the bucket of the overall problem of 76,000 people crossing the border every month.
3. The White House is planning to unveil a complete overhaul of the immigration system
— The changes would include ending the visa lottery program and changing it to a comprehensive merit-based procedure. Currently, 66 percent of immigrants are allowed into the country due to family ties, but that would change to 33 percent, and instead, 57 percent of immigrants would be admitted in the United States due to their work-related skills. A new “Build America Visa” program would begin and recognize people with professional and specialized vocations, including exceptional students. President Trump is set to present the immigration address on Thursday afternoon.
2. State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) doesn’t think the Alabama abortion ban will make it to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade
— After the Senate passed the bill, Senator Ward said, “My honest, brutal opinion is I’ll be shocked if the Supreme Court hears our bill because there are several other states doing the same thing.” Ward also mentioned the potential cost of losing a case in the Supreme Court. If the bill doesn’t go to the court and challenge Roe v. Wade, it will not fulfill the stated purpose of State Representative Terri Collins (R-Decatur). Ward voted for the final bill and also for the failed attempt to add rape and incest exemptions.
1. Governor Kay Ivey has signed the bill to ban abortion
— After signing the bill, Ivey said, “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” The only exception provided in the bill is if the health of the mother is at risk, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest. The bill is set to take effect in six months, but the intent of the bill is to challenge Roe v. Wade.