State Sen. Jones: Marsh gambling bill ‘very thoughtful,’ Comprehensive bill required to meet supermajority threshold
Even though State Sen. Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) comprehensive gaming legislation has received some early praise from around the state of Alabama, margins could still be tight when a final vote is taken because of the three-fifths supermajority required in each chamber of the Alabama Legislature to make it to the ballot for a constitutional amendment.
The bill’s prospects in the lower chamber remain an unknown. However, it is gaining some momentum in the Senate.
During an appearance on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5, State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre) praised the bill for the “big picture” approach and how the revenues would be spent.
“It is a very thoughtful bill, in my opinion,” he said. “I actually made the motion and voted to get it out of committee. You know, it’s been a challenge. Anytime you deal with a lottery or gaming — and a lot of folks say we should just deal with a lottery by itself.”
Jones argued there were difficulties in taking a piecemeal instead of a comprehensive approach given the supermajority votes required in the House and Senate for a constitutional amendment.
“Senator Marsh has put together a proposal that deals with the big picture,” Jones said. “And it is also very thoughtful on how the money is divvied up. I think it addresses the major needs that we have in this state and does it in a way that everybody can have a piece of the pie, so to speak, and brought all of the gaming and lottery interest to the table. I think it is a very thoughtful bill and look forward to getting that bill or some version of that bill out and let the public vote on it, which is what I committed to do from the start — let the people vote.”
“All of our neighboring states have some sort of lottery,” he continued. “And I live right here — five minutes from the Georgia line. I know more than anybody else how many people come across through here to buy lottery tickets and spend their money in Georgia. So, let people vote, and I think this is as good a proposal as any, and I think it’s going to get even better as members talk with Del and give him advice on things that can be shored up or improved in the bill. And I’m very excited about the prospects.”
The Cherokee County Republican lawmaker called using lottery proceeds to address workforce shortages through the state’s education system a “very savvy idea,” adding it would lend a hand to Gov. Kay Ivey’s goal of adding 500,000 trained workers to the workforce by 2025.
“I think that is a good use of the resources,” Jones added. “I want to see more details about that. I think that will be in the enabling legislation after the constitutional amendment part is passed.”
@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.