9:56- Rhiana and I are in the senate media room awaiting the senators to show up for debate!
10:09- Senator Bedford asks the senate to allow the people to vote. He said we have had legal gambling in Alabama since 1971. This is the first time in the history of our state to tax and regulate it. The people should have the opportunity to vote it down or pass it through. The senate and state government should honor the will of the people.
10:15- Bedford says Gov. Riley is out of line to wait until now to become so passionate about this issue. He should look at his funding from Mississippi and should have made that decision long ago. Voting for this issue would be the largest turn out for a vote ever in Alabama. He says we should not decide on this issue here because if that happens, we say that we are smarter than the people of Alabama.
No one in this Senate is smarter that the people in Alabama. That is why we have the right to vote. We have military who for this right. They have the choice. They vote for us but we don't give them a chance to vote on one of the biggest issues ever in this state...that is dead wrong.
Bedford says voting no today will cut millions and millions of dollars from each county of this state.
If voted down, Indians have a monopoly because you can't tax, regulate, or touch them because they are protected by the federal government. Over 6,000 people are out of a job right now because of these bingo halls closing. This is not funny and our government could care less right now. This is absolutely not funny and it is not fair.
The gaming commission will be one of the toughest in the country.
He also says that if we don't let the Alabama people vote on this issue, we tell them that they are too stupid to vote on an issue.
Bedford says that the people will speak and vote our butts out for not giving them the right to vote. This is not about backroom deals and campaign cash, they deserve the right to vote.
10:33- Senator Samford says the bill should be cleaned up.
10:40- The senate voted 18 to 16 to kill the let the people vote bingo bill sponsored by Senator Bedford after failing to get 21 votes to further debate.
Bingo Bill Hearing Blog Day 1
10:04- The senate was called to session and a prayer was said and a local high school student led the senate in the Pledge of Allegiance.
10:14- The senators are joking back and forth on each others pictures and who's granddaughter can draw the best.
10:18- The senators are getting ready to talk about what bills are going to be introduced today.
10:23- Senator Waggoner proposes a resolution to recognize the Hoover High School football and wrestling teams for winning the state championships in their respective sports.
10:24- Senator Bedford just put forth a motion to adopt a resolution to override the governor's veto on employee furloughs once a month.
10:27- An opposing senator says that furloughing employees is better than possible lay-offs down the road. He also says that it is a waste of money to take all the industrial trips all over the world. Taking trips to the national championship game was not an industrial trip, it was for fun. He says that Bob Riley's thin minded stance on trips is as thin minded as his stance on letting the people vote on electronic gaming.
10:39- The vote to put forth a resolution to override Gov. Riley's veto to furloughing employees once a month was 20 Yea and 13 opposed.
10:48- The senate is talking a possible recess from 11 until 2pm...due to economic lunch meetings scheduled.
2:02- The senators are starting to enter the senate chamber for the afternoon session
2:24- Senate Resolution on Bingo is now being mentioned...
2:25- Senator Hank Irwin says that the bill if passed would rip the state apart. The bill is about gambling, not bingo. People would rip this state apart if this bill is passed. Charity bingo is nothing more than a slot machine. He says that letting the cat out of the bag, has drained our state of money and the state budgets are very depleted. He asks, "Where does the money go?" He says that the gambling bosses have wasted money and has put the state in proration. He says we need to find another way to do business in Alabama and that there are more important things to talk about rather than gambling. The issue will set us back addressing the issues of this state. The bill would create a monopoly for certain people and separate fair business. It will also make certain billionaires and break others.
He adds "Letting the people vote" would be bad because it is a bad bill designed and manipulated for people to make a ton of money. The casino bosses are fooling and scamming the people of Alabama to try and get rich.
I have seen very few emails and not many calls for people wanting it to go to a vote. There is not compelling mandate for the people wanting to vote. The few people want to make a ton of money and it is a slick marketing scam.
We need to vote it down and make a statement as a government.
The casino are trying to rob the people of Alabama to pad their own pockets. We do not need to give the state of Alabama to gamblers to leave the state high and dry. This is not about bingo, its all about gambling. We are trying to turn Alabama into Las Vegas. Alabama will go down like the Titanic.
Letting gambling into Alabama is like throwing money in the toilet and flushing it away. If we vote this down, we can move on from this mess. If we need to, I can talk until the cows come home and until I run out of breath because this bill is crazy.
2:38- Senator Baron says this bill will make Alabama nothing like Mississippi. We dont want all the card tables, slots, and everything else...We are talking about bingo and bingo only. For the last 27 years, we have had legal gambling in dogs tracks and other things. We have not taxed them for 27 years and now, we want to tax and regulate it and bring in hundreds of millions of dollars and all you are doing is denying the people a right to vote.
Mississippi has not gone to the dogs as all the people are saying. If we dont pass this, the Indians have three gaming facilities and they are not taxed one dollar! Voting this down, gives them everything they can handle. All we want to do is allow people to vote.
2:42- The calendar with the bingo legislation passes 19 to 16 to be discussed and voted on in the next three days.
2:47- Senator Means says he lost every bit of respect for First Lady Patsy Riley when she shouted for people to get legal jobs. He said she has no right to shout that at citizens of this state. What about the people working at the Indian casinos? Are those legal jobs? All Bob Riley did was wake up one morning and said, "I'm going to get rid of bingo in this state". But when he leaves office, bingo will still be in the state with the Indians. All the people in my district just want the chance to vote....that's all. When Mrs. Riley said that, she was out of line. The governor is now going to help them with unemployment but it still shouldn't have been said. I wish Gov. Riley was here so I could ask him why now instead of 7 years ago.
Gov. Riley is helping this bingo legislation because of the late night raids. Mr. Means says there must have been cannons and missles at Victoryland and Country Crossing to bring all the state troopers for the raids. I wish the governor would come here and answer these questions to our faces.
2:55- Senator Bedford asks for a recess for 30 minutes to get the copies to everyone for a proper debate and vote. The motion passes 23 to 9.
3:33- Senator Bedford says that the bill would create one of the toughest gaming commissions in the country and would tax the gaming at 27% and that would help every part of the state budget especially in the medicare and medicaid aspects. There is no favoritism in the bill and the bill would put Alabama in a safe place by limiting the locations to only 10 places. Everyone must go before the gaming commission. They can fine, remove, or close a facility.
3:38 - A motion has been put forth to adjourn for the day and to reassemble at 10am on Wednesday....The motion passes at a 21 to 14 vote.