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State Rep. Blackshear to carry comprehensive gaming proposal in House; Says expect clarity on path ahead ‘by the end of the week’

With just a handful of days remaining in the 2021 legislative session, the clocking is ticking for the Alabama House of Representatives to move on late-arriving legislation passed by the Alabama Senate last week on a comprehensive gaming package.

The prospects got a boost this week as State Rep. Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City) revealed he would be the chief sponsor of the House’s version of a comprehensive gaming package.

Blackshear told Yellowhammer News on Monday that meetings were underway to determine where House membership was on the Senate’s version of the bill.

“Over the weekend, we had gone through — some of the ones who are working very closely on these bills — really just sifting through the four pieces of legislation that the Senate passed last weekend,” he explained. “We’ve got a couple of internal meetings set up in the House this coming week that will give us a little more detail of what, if any, changes the body would like to make to the legislation that was passed in the Senate. And by the end of this week, I think we’ll have a better idea of the posture of the body and the appetite for what was passed in the Senate, how many changes, if any, need to be made that would help us have a good path moving forward to when we have these bills in committee, when and if we have an opportunity to get these bills and legislation to the floor for a vote before the end of the session on May 17.”

Blackshear said he took up the cause because he supported a vote by citizens.

“Every time we have had the opportunity since I’ve been in Montgomery, I’ve voted yes on a lottery bill, and I’m a ‘yes’ on this one, too, because I think it’s very important,” Blackshear said. “There’s not a lot of time that we’re able to allow the citizens of Alabama to embrace their opinion, for them to make the decisions they want to make for what they want to see in their state. This is one of those opportunities for the citizens to decide what they would like to see as far as gaming in the state of Alabama. I’m 100% supportive of citizens making their decisions. I look at it as I’m just facilitating a conversation on the House floor for the body to ultimately make a decision — do we vote the legislation up, or do we vote it down, if we ever get to that opportunity.”

The Russell County Republican lawmaker expects more clarity on a path forward by the end of the week.

“I think we’ll have a good idea of what the next step looks like, as far as a timeline relating to gaming legislation from now until the end of the session by the end of the week,” he added.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

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