By Glynn Wilson –
In a state where gambling is so loved yet feared, it must be torture for lawmakers stuck in Montgomery in the August heat to spend hours late into the night debating what Governor Robert Bentley says he wants, a state lottery to save Medicaid.
With all of the big talk about fighting gambling by church interests, it has been many years since anyone even brought up the subject of sports betting. Millions of dollars are won and lost every Saturday on Alabama and Auburn football, but the moral high ground crowd is dead set against a lottery?
Then, inquiring minds still want to know what happened to all the big talk of impeachment. Is there something the Montgomery press corp is not telling us?
What we do know at this point is that the House met until about midnight Thursday and finally passed out a bill on a vote of 64-35 that would approve a statewide vote on a lottery amendment, with 10 percent of the money going to education, $100 million to Medicaid and the rest to the general fund where it can be played with like Monopoly money.
The bill will still have to be approved in a conference committee with the Senate before the Legislature adjourns the special session, and there is still a debate about whether it can be included on the general election ballot November 8 or whether there will have to be an expensive special election later.
Even if the lottery is approved by voters at some point — no guarantee — the proceeds will not help the sick people who are dying now without the health care they need from Medicaid, so there is still some debate in the Senate about using BP lawsuit settlement money to shore up Medicaid in the short term.
And then there is a chance all of this will be for nothing, since the courts could get involved and strike down hundreds of laws passed by the Republican Legislature in violation of the rules.
Well you know what they say. They don’t call this place “The Gump” for nothing.
Then there is this.
Dog help the mariner, and anyone caught in the middle of a Legislative session in August. There’s not much of a chance anything good can come out of this.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.