Gambling, cannabis and trans charges still on Alabama lawmakers’ agenda

By Kim Chandler, Associated Press

Alabama legislators in the closing days of the session will confront conclusions on gambling, professional medical marijuana as properly as laws that would ban the use of prescription drugs to assist transgender youth transition.

Home Speaker Mac McCutcheon said he expects all 3 steps, which have by now cleared the Alabama Senate, to get votes in the Household of Associates in the remaining days of the session. Lawmakers system to meet for two much more months and then return to Montgomery for a last working day on Might 17.

In this article is a search at the three of the concerns prior to lawmakers in the closing times of the legislative session:


The Alabama Senate accepted sweeping gambling legislation that would create a point out lottery as perfectly as permit 9 casino web pages in the condition.

But common sticking details are rising as the invoice heads to vote in the Alabama Property: Wherever the casinos will be positioned and how the point out will use gambling revenue. If authorised by lawmakers, the proposed constitutional modification would go just before voters.

In addition to a condition lottery, casino sites would be positioned in: Jefferson, Cellular, Macon, Greene and Houston counties a north Alabama site in Jackson or DeKalb county and the 3 sites owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

The on line casino licenses would be place out for bid. Even so, the present pet dog tracks and digital bingo operations, such as Greenetrack and VictoryLand puppy tracks, would be offered an prospect to occur in and make a final bid to exceed the optimum bidder to get the license in their respective county. The Poarch Creeks will have the proper for the final bid for the web page in north Alabama.

In trying to muster ample votes for passage, the bill presents an edge to the biggest current gambling operators, while courts have ruled towards the legality of electronic bingo devices, but excludes more compact operators.

Democratic Sen. Malika Sanders Fortier, who has been absent from the session due to the fact she is going through most cancers therapy in Texas, is urging lawmakers to also include things like an present bingo operator in Lowndes County, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the point out.

“How can we forcibly near the doors of a business that has existed for 20 decades (in a person kind or another) in a small rural impoverished local community like Lowndes County?” she said in an emailed assertion.

Professional medical Marijuana

The legislation by Republican Sen. Tim Melson of Florence would allow for persons with a qualifying health-related situation to acquire cannabis right after having a advice from a medical professional. More than a person dozen disorders, such as cancer, a terminal health issues and continual ache, would allow a individual to qualify.

The bill would permit marijuana in sorts this sort of as drugs, pores and skin patches and creams but not in smoking or vaping products.

The Property has historically been a lot more skeptical of professional medical marijuana proposals. A healthcare cannabis invoice in 2013 won the “Shroud Award” for the “deadest” monthly bill that yr in the Household of Reps. Melson has expressed optimism about the bill’s chances this calendar year following several years of setbacks.

“I believe it is going to be a close vote. I truly do since there are many members who are supportive of the healthcare part. Some come to feel like it may be an opportunity for cannabis to appear into our state and be a gateway drug,” McCutcheon explained.


Arkansas this 12 months turned the initial point out to ban gender confirming solutions for transgender youths. Alabama could grow to be the second.

The Alabama invoice would make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 decades in prison, for a health care provider to prescribe puberty-blockers or hormones or complete medical procedures to aid in the gender changeover of people 18 years previous or youthful.

“Children aren’t experienced sufficient to make these selections on surgical procedures and medicines. The complete place is to shield young children,” bill sponsor Republican Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, mentioned soon after the Senate vote.

Supporters say they are striving to shield kids from conclusions that should wait until eventually adulthood. Opponents, like mothers and fathers and trans youth, say this kind of actions interfere with professional medical selections and goal trans people for the sake of politics.

“I request you to consider a look at our spouse and children. How am I hurting me or everyone else by wanting medical hormonal treatment method? I do not want to be a pawn in a political agenda in which I was never consulted about,” Phineas Smith, a 16-yr-aged transgender boy, informed reporters for the duration of a press meeting.

Opponents say the bill will practically undoubtedly be challenged simply because it singles out a person type of health-related final decision.