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Pro Tem Reed ‘very pleased’ with Senate gambling bill

As lawmakers continue to debate the issue of gambling, Alabama’s top Senator said he believes the higher chamber did a good job with the bill they passed.

Earlier this month, the Alabama Senate passed a compromise gambling bill that is very scaled back compared to the version passed by the House.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) discussed the issue Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal.”

“When it came to the Senate, a lot of that hard work had already been done by the House,” Reed said. “We begin to then look at it to determine what are the elements of it that we like or don’t like, and the Senate went to work, debating, just like we do on issues and working to figure out what are the things that are most important to us? And that’s what we did and I was very pleased with the Senate outcome.

“I felt like we made the bill a lot better for the people of Alabama and we focused on the things, at least for the senate members that were the most important.”

Reed said a lot of the senators were more interested in enforcement against the illegal facilities more than just expanding gambling in the state.

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“This year, we got to a place in the Senate to where the attitude of expansion is not what the membership is looking for,” he said. “As a matter of fact, to focus on enforcement, a focus on making sure you can shut down illegal operations and that you’re not expanding casino gambling, Las Vegas-style top gambling in our state, and sports betting, too. So those became some of the biggest issues.”

The senator admitted this is still a divisive issue in Alabama.

“In a topic like this, Republican or Democrat, you’re gonna always have a circumstance where they’re going to folks that are going to vote for it no matter what,” he said. “There are going to be others that are never going to vote for it no matter what, and then you’re gonna wind up with the majority of members that say, based on what it does based on what the outcomes are, then I’m willing to consider my yes vote our will establish my no vote based on where we are.”

Overall he believes the session has been very productive up to this point.

“[T]he session has been tense, intense,” he said. “It’s been super busy. Okay. But it’s been intentional … So in looking at a recap on that I would agree the session has been busy but very intentional. It has gone the way that we wanted it to go.”

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

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