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Ainsworth on comprehensive gaming, lottery bill: ‘Let people vote on the issue’

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) on Friday morning interviewed with two Alabama radio shows about a wide-range of topics, including Space Command, no-excuse absentee voting and the comprehensive gaming proposal currently pending action by the State Senate.

Speaking to Birmingham-area Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Val Show,” Ainsworth was asked by co-host Matt Murphy about his thoughts on SB 214, the gaming proposal sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston). That proposal covers a lottery, casino gaming and sports betting.

Ainsworth reiterated that Marsh is working to complete the enabling legislation that would implement the aspects of SB 214.

“My thing is I’ve always had the position of let people vote on the issue,” Ainsworth remarked.

He then commented on another hot-button topic: Sen. Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) SB 46, the bill that would legalize and regulate the medical usage of marijuana in the Yellowhammer State. The legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday but still faces a battle in the House, where it will have to pass through both the committees on Judiciary and Health.

“I’m actually for it,” Ainsworth advised. “I’m hoping that that passes downstairs in the House as well.”

“I think that’s something that’s needed,” he added. “I think when you look at the potential of that helping people that are hurting, it’s something that — I know there are different opinions on that — but in my opinion, I actually think it will help get people off opioids. I think it will help with pain. I think it’s past time for us to do that in our state.”

The same morning, he also interviewed with Huntsville-area WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show.”

One especially notable topic came towards the end of the interview, when host Dale Jackson asked the Republican from Marshall County about whether he supports a bill in the Alabama Legislature that would enact no-excuse absentee voting in the state.

To the surprise of some observers, Secretary of State John Merrill (R-AL) has endorsed the bill, which is sponsored by State Rep. Laura Hall (D-Huntsville).

“I think if you look at what happened in other states, no-excuse (absentee) voting is a tool for potential voter fraud and corruption,” Ainsworth commented. “I’m not for it at all.”

In both interviews, Ainsworth discussed the Air Force’s decision to house the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command at Redstone Arsenal, as well as his leadership on military and defense-related endeavors — including his national chairmanship of the Aerospace States Association.

RELATED: Ainsworth continues push to make Alabama the nation’s most military-friendly state

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn