State Sen. Albritton: House failure to give Senate gambling bill an up-or-down vote on the floor ‘disrespectful’
Alabama’s struggle to find a solution to its long-standing gambling dilemma will likely have to wait at least another year after legislation failed to make it to the floor of the House of Representatives for an up-or-down vote last week on the second-to-last day of the 2021 legislative session.
According to State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), the chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee, it was incredibly frustrating for the Senate given it passed legislation and sent it to the House.
That legislation was deemed something “that just would not work” by House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) on the House floor late Thursday. However, during an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Albritton said the failure to formally consider the bill raised questions about the seriousness within the House of Representatives to find a fix to gaming.
“[H]ow serious were they in taking it or not taking it?” he said. “You know, it would have been a lot easier and less time consuming if they had just said, ‘Look guys, we’re not going to take this up. Don’t bother sending us anything. We’re not going to hear it.’ That would have been a lot easier to handle.”
The Escambia County Republican lawmaker pointed to the extraordinary effort given by the Senate throughout the legislative session and argued for the House to run out of time was “disrespectful.”
“[T]his should have been handled,” Albritton added. “This is a major matter for the state and it needs to be resolved. In the Senate, we took two votes. We had to have two separate things. In fact, we debated significantly about three separate different bills — not to mention, all the different parts. That was on the floor. That was in caucus. That was in public. That was completely discussed and debated, and had the time to do all of that and took two full votes. And then to have the House not even take a vote, it is disrespectful.”
Friday, during an appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) hinted at the possbility of the beginning of the 2022 session being the time for legislative action on gambling. Albritton indicated he was unsure about those prospects but said he agreed with McCutcheon on a comprehensive approach.
“One thing I noticed on the speaker is he came around at least the point that a comprehensive [approach] is what we need,” Albritton said. “The Governor has come around on that, too. She is also on board with a comprehensive bill. I think that’s the proper way we have to approach this. You can’t do anything piecemeal because there are too many hands and too many obstacles. It has to be done in one swoop and whether you like it or not, that’s the way it is going to have to be.”
“We have found a path there — the Senate had found the proper balance we think there,” he continued. “It’s just we can’t seem to get the House to vote on it.”
@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.