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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Senate expects gambling fight on Tuesday

Sen. Lowell Barron, chairman of the committee that decides which bills come to the Senate floor for debate, said "the gaming bill probably will come up on Tuesday."
"That will tie us up for a time," said Barron, D-Fyffe. Barron said he was offering a list of bills to debate on Thursday that he said were not controversial before the gaming bill comes up next week.
Republican Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, offered his own bill to debate on Thursday and that was the bill that would, if approved by the Legislature and voters, create a gaming commission to oversee casino operations at 10 points of destination in the state and tax the revenue.
Marsh, who opposes the legislation, said he wanted people to know Republicans are not holding up the bill. He said they want to move on to bills that Republicans believe will create jobs. His effort to bring up the gambling bill on Thursday failed.
Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, said people were still in discussions and needed time to look at the bill. She said she did not know where she stood on the legislation.
Most Republicans believe the bill would create a monopoly for existing casino operators in the state and would expand gambling.
Democrats who support the bill said it would allow the people to vote, would tax gaming in the state and use the revenue for Medicaid and education, and would stop small illegal operations from popping up throughout the state.
Democrats and casino operators have intensified their push to pass the bill since Gov. Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling began attempting raids on large facilities in the state, which have shut down following those attempts and rulings by the Alabama Supreme Court.

-- 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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