MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama lawmakers are in the first week of the legislative session and are already talking about gaming and the future of a lottery.
During her State of the State Address Tuesday night, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she was forming a committee to study the issue of gaming and an Alabama lottery.
“All we do in this state is study, study, study,” said Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, who co-sponsored a gaming bill last session that stalled in the legislature. “We never do anything.”
Lawmakers have mixed feelings about the governor’s plan to form a group to study gaming in Alabama.
“I just hope and pray that we’re not going to sit up here in Alabama and try to come up with a solid gaming law with the people at Alabama because personally, I don’t think anybody, any lawyers in the state of Alabama is equipped to really deal with gaming,” said Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee.
Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, said 45 other states have already studied the issue.
“We’ve talked about the lottery for 21 years now since we voted on it the first time in 1999,” Clouse said.
Leading up to the sesssion, Clouse announced his plans to introduce a bill for an education lottery that would benefit pre-kindergarten and scholarships. He projects an education lottery could bring in an estimated $167 million per year to the state.
“We rank last in the Southeast as far as the amount of aid coming from states to assist students with their college tuition,” Clouse said.
As far as a timetable for the governor gaming committee?
“I’m going to give them to at least the year’s end, if they find the data before then, so be it; that’s great too,” Ivey said.
There’s no word on who will serve on the gaming committee or when they will meet.
Clouse said he want to get his lottery bill through the legislature this session so it can be on the November ballot.