These days every time I run into someone who knows about Free The Hops the first thing out of their mouth is “So when is your bill going to pass?” Right now my answer is always the same “We’re still waiting on the Senate to get moving.”
If you haven’t been watching the Senate’s activities (or lack thereof) as closely as I have, this article will get you up to speed: Senate remains tied up with bingo legislation
Not surprisingly, the reality is more complex than the article lets on. The bingo legislation in question is not a matter of legalizing or prohibiting gambling, with the pro-gambling lobby on one side and the moralists on the other. Rather, it’s a matter of restructuring an existing gambling operation, and there are gambling proponents on each side of the issue representing different gaming interests. Millions of dollars are at stake, so it’s not too surprising that the bills’ sponsors are fighting so hard.
FTH has no position on the bill. All we want is for the matter to be resolved one way or another so the flood gates can open and the huge backlog of Senate bills can finally start to be addressed. If and when they get moving the Senate can pass dozens of bills every day they meet for the rest of the session.
The Alabama Legislature has 30 meeting days each session, usually spread out in the form of 2 meeting days per week. This week they are working 3 days, though, which means both the House and Senate are convening today. It will be day 21 of 30. As you can see, we are approaching the final stretch.
We’ll keep you updated on how things are moving. Several of us have gotten in the habit of tuning into the Senate internet audio feed to play in the background while at work. If you want to watch sausage being made, as they say, you can find the audio feed at the Legislature’s website: http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/acasloginFire.asp There is a link on the left side of the page for Chamber Audio. Today the Senate will convene at 3pm.
Will today be the day they finally move past the Bingo bills, after spending several weeks debating them? Tune in to find out…