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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

AG talks about bingo, relationship with Riley

Attorney General Troy King said there has been a disagreement between him and Gov. Bob Riley, the man who appointed him to his position, over electronic bingo, "but that disagreement ended on Friday."

King is referring to an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that better defined bingo in the state, outlining six criteria.

Riley is claiming the ruling is a victory in his fight against electronic bingo.

The attorney general said the ruling does not state electronic bingo is illegal.

He said he and the governor agree that the law should be enforced and the court's ruling better defines bingo. King sent a letter to district attorneys in the 18 counties in Alabama with constitutional amendments allowing bingo informing them of the court's decision and offering legal advice from his office. He also said that, unless specified in a ruling, that there is a period of 18 days before it becomes effective to allow for appeals.

"If and when this decision becomes final, new substantive law will be in effect in Alabama defining what constitutes bingo in our state," King wrote. "As the chief law officers of your local jurisdictions, you hold the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance within your district for this and other laws. I am confident you will do so."
Riley has pushed King and district attorneys to begin enforcing the ruling, but King said that was premature because it is not final.

King and Riley differed on whether electronic bingo was legal in the state. King believed state law did not prohibit electronic bingo. He said his opinion, unlike that of the court, does not carry the weight of the law.

"We have a whole new test," King said. "It doesn't matter what I thought a week ago."

King does not believe the situation has been resolved.

"This is not the final answer," he said.

The attorney general also questioned the constitutionality of the governor's task force on illegal gaming and the issue of separation of powers. He said the governor appointed a supernumerary district attorney to command the task force that essentially has the same power as the attorney general to go into other counties and prosecute cases.

Much has been made of the disagreement between Riley and his former legal adviser.

"The governor is still my friend," King said Tuesday.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen


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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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