State Sen. Givhan: Del Marsh’s ‘heart is in the right place’ but gambling legislation ‘a bad bill for Alabama’
This week will be a pivotal week for State Sen. Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) comprehensive gaming legislation, which, if it can reach a three-fifths majority in both chambers of the legislature, will allow Alabamians to vote on a gambling package that would allow for a lottery and the proliferation of casino gaming in various places around the state.
However, not everyone is sold on the deal and is skeptical of the legislation, which they say allows the state to pick winners and losers.
Monday, during an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) explained why he was in the “no” camp, calling it a “bad bill for Alabama.”
“Where I was to start with — no,” he replied. “I’ve got some amendments I’ll bring to try to make the bill better. I think it is a bad bill for Alabama. I think Marsh’s heart is in the right place, and he has got a passion about the broadband that would be funded with this and is trying to bring a lot of different interests to the table.”
The Madison County lawmaker acknowledged the difficulties in finding an agreement to such a broad, comprehensive package but maintained the legislation was fraught with shortcomings.
“I just don’t think it is a good deal for Alabama,” he added. “I was convinced there was only about — I would have thought it was a higher number — only about five or six hard nos. And then you had a lot of maybes, lite-yeses, weak-yeses. It looks to me like — and personally don’t think the substitute is going to garner the attention. I don’t think they’ve got 21 votes. They’ve got 31 senators to work one. We’ve got 33 — two that are sick and won’t be there. So out of 31, you’ve got 21 yes votes. It doesn’t sound like they’re there right now.”
Givhan said he was hearing from constituents about the issue and was hopeful there was a path forward but was skeptical it could be done in such a broad fashion that includes lottery and casino gaming. He also noted the uncertainty of the bill’s future in the House of Representatives and warned the revenue projections could be overestimated.
@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.