Goat Hill Report- Week Ending April 9, 2021

The Alabama Legislature has now met 21 of the constitutionally allowed 30 days. The Legislature must still pass the Education Trust Fund Budget and the General Fund Budget. Both budgets have passed one house and await action in the other Chamber. Both are in surprisingly great shape and are unlikely to cause problems. The same cannot be said for the issue of a lottery and possible casinos. The Senate took another bite at the apple last week and once again ran into opposition on the contentious issue.

On Wednesday, the Senate delayed a vote on Sen. Jim McClendon’s (R – Springville) bill to authorize a lottery in the state after the threat of a filibuster and an effort to change the bill to authorize casinos. Sen. McClendon feared he did not have enough votes to pass the bill and opted to carry the bill over rather than lose the vote on the floor.

The bill, if lawmakers and voters approve, would authorize a lottery where tickets could be sold at stores, kiosks, and through a phone app.

Earlier in the day, Senators approved the bill that would set up the governing structure and how revenues would be divided for a potential Alabama lottery. But, the legislation is useless without the constitutional amendment authorizing the lottery.

A few weeks ago, Senators rejected a more comprehensive gaming proposal that included full casino gaming and a lottery. Sen. Del Marsh (R – Anniston), the sponsor of that legislation, has said he does not think there is enough support in the Senate for a straight lottery bill; he believes a more comprehensive approach is necessary.

Conversations continue between the House, Senate, and Governor’s office. Governor Ivey has signaled her support for a more comprehensive approach, but she has not proposed specific legislation. If an agreement is not reached during this legislative session, one or more Special Sessions may be called to address gaming and other issues.

Bills of Interest to the Concrete Industry

House Bill 600 introduced this week by Representative Ivan Smith would change the maximum truck width allowed to 102 inches on trucks regardless the width of the travel lane. Current law limits truck widths to 96 inches on lanes less than 12 foot wide and 102 inches on 12 foot wide lanes. The change would provide for more uniform enforcement. The current law has provisions that allow safety devices such as mirrors to extend beyond the maximum limits.

The legislature will reconvene on April 13, 2021. For any questions about this report, please contact our office.

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