Little done in the legislature
Once again, the Alabama legislature has completed its yearly scheduled session. Thank God, we came out of it without further damage to the state. It is always a relief when the state legislature isn’t in session. You just never know what this group will or will not do. I suppose we should be grateful they are famously known as the “do nothing legislature.” This year I congratulate them on doing nothing on the bingo issue. The bingo bill was left to die in the House. It probably shouldn’t have made it that far. After the debacle in the Senate triggering an FBI investigation into possible corruption, I suppose House members didn’t want the same scrutiny of their votes.
Many who do not gamble themselves have the attitude if others choose to, it’s okay. They fail to consider that gambling can contribute to poverty, broken homes and financial difficulties for many individuals. It can also foster corruption, influence buying and shady dealings involving some politicians. In addition to these negatives, it is additive behavior for some individuals. All these issue increase the cost of government, maintaining law and order, and providing safety nets for the indigent. The implication of improprieties with the Senate vote should be a warning flag to voters. Phenix City keeps coming to mind when talking about saturating the state with gambling.
So again, I thank our legislature for doing nothing. You can look forward to the next legislative session opening with a bingo bill. If they can get electronic bingo (slot machines) passed, that should open the door for legalizing all type slot machines. We have an opportunity to vote in June and November to change things in our state and nation. I would implore everyone to ask questions of the candidates and seek representation your parents and grandparents would be proud of. Vote your own conscience and not some organizations recommendation or bidding. Help elect those individuals who have impeccable integrity and moral values to offer.
On the plus side, this legislature passed the operating budgets and found a way to temporarily save the PACT program during the regular session this year. It is not unusual for our state representatives to not get that far along during regular session. In the past, we have had to pay them for a special session to pass the budgets.
James G. Smith is a local columnist.