By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — While the greatest political show on earth was going on live from Philedelphia on the Internet and most television news channels, with one of the greatest orators to ever occupy the Oval Office addressing the Democratic National Convention and calling on the election of Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president ever, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley went to the pond where he allegedly had an affair with his former aide and shot a YouTube video saying he is calling for a special session of the legislature to encourage debate on a bill that would allow people to vote on a state lottery.
The contrasts could not be more stark.
Watch President Obama’s masterful address:
Watch Bentley’s little video:
As we have been reporting on all year, while the president offered Alabama roughly a billion dollars a year to expand Medicaid to cover everybody, Bentley refused the money for political purposes – so he could get reelected in 2014 without tea party opposition from the political right.
But now that he is under siege for his alleged sex scandal, the Speaker of the House is on his way to prison for corruption and the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court is on his way out, thousands of people are dying simply because Republican politicians in Alabama will not get onboard with the national plan to save people’s lives.
In order to try to find a solution to the funding crisis in Medicaid, which the legislature left $85 million short in next year’s budget, Bentley is asking lawmakers to do something Democratic Governor Don Siegelman tried to do 18 years ago — pass a lottery. But rather than using the money for education, now Bentley wants the money to go for “essential state services” that aid “children, the elderly, the mentally ill and law enforcement.”
According to reporting by local television news stations, Republican Senator Jim McClendon of Springville said he is working on a lottery bill. Bentley did not set a specific date for the special session to be held in August, but a measure would have to be approved by August 24 to be on the ballot November 8.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican from Anniston, released a statement Wednesday saying a special election would cost the state up to $4 million.
“There is little doubt that a special session is needed to address funding for Medicaid and the Regional Care Organizations (RCOs). The legislature made a commitment to fund the RCOs and in speaking with my colleagues in the Senate and House, I am hopeful that we will continue to make progress toward achieving that goal,” Marsh said. “It is important that we continue this revolutionary transformation of the Medicaid system, which is acting as a pilot for continued healthcare reforms and is projected to save the state millions of dollars over time.”
He said in discussions with Bentley, he encouraged the governor to call the session in early August.
“This will leave the window open for the legislature to consider a lottery proposal and put it on the ballot this November,” Marsh said. “Any referendum passed by the legislature after August 24th would require a special election costing taxpayers $4 million, which is an unnecessary expense to the state at a time of budget shortfalls.”
Alabama is one of only six states in the country without a lottery. If the greatest political show on earth in Philly trumps Trump, and early indications are it will, Alabama could be one of the only states in the country to vote with Donald Trump for president. Certain comments on Facebook indicate that Republicans in Alabama are not watching the political show fron Philly on television, which means they have their heads stuck in the proverbial sand.
With this week’s Powerball lottery up to $422 million, Alabamians have been flooding into Florida, Georgia and Tennessee to spend their money in other states for a chance at the prize.
Bentley, a Baptist dermotologist who has worn his religion on his sleeve and stood against the sin of gambling in the past, appears desperate now and may also face impeachment when the legislature goes back into session. He has been excommunicated from his church and made the butt of jokes the world over.
All he had to do was take the federal money for Medicaid expansion and force the legislature to find the money for the state’s part. Now he will go down in history as the worst governor since Guy Hunt, the Holly Pond Republican who was impeached and removed from office for illegally using inaugural money to buy a marble bathtub and other things for his double wide trailer near Cullman.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.