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Sen. Singleton: Gaming bills only come up ‘when we’re broke’

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) said that even though a gambling bill didn’t come up this year, he thinks the Legislature will discuss the issue again in the near future.

Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) recently admitted that he didn’t take up a gaming bill during this year’s session because it might have been a distraction from other important issues.

Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Singleton discussed the future for gambling and a lottery in the Yellowhammer State.

“I’ll just be honest with you, that bill comes up when we’re broke. We had a lot of money this time,” Singleton said. “Because that bill was going to solve a lot of the problems, in education, it would have helped Medicaid, Medicare, all of those things that it could’ve helped, that bill would’ve done. And so with that, we had a lot of money in the coffer this time to take care of those things.”

The lawmaker said there were also other factors that made it difficult to pass any kind of gaming bill this year.

“Plus you’ve got a new Speaker, in as much as he was already a member, you had a new Speaker that just didn’t have the appetite for a gaming bill up this time, and I respect that,” he said. “You got some 30-odd new members in the House that didn’t understand the whole gaming process, so you’re giving them a chance to get indoctrinated and to come into the process. We [also] had a few members in the Senate.”

Singleton predicts that some kind of gambling legislation will come up in the near future.

“So I can see it coming back,” he said, “because these good days, these glory days of all these dollars are going to go away. And we’re back here in the state o’ Alabama, we’re going to need them at some point in time.”

He also noted how discussions on the subject have been ongoing behind the scenes.

“Those committees continue to meet. The groups are continuing to meet,” he said. “And so I think at some point between now and the next three years of this session, you’ll see a gaming bill.”

Ledbetter did put a commission in place to come up with a plan on gaming. The commission will make their ideas pubic before the next session.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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