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2016 legislative update: Lottery bill dead, BP settlement bill still alive in Alabama Legislature
A state lottery bill died, returned to life and then died again in the Alabama Legislature this week. The House voted 64-35 Thursday night for an amended version of SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, that included revenue earmarks for Medicaid, education, and rural and community fire departments. That move came after the House reconsidered its initial 61-37 vote on the bill, which fell two votes short of the 63 votes required to pass a constitutional amendment. However, the Senate on Friday voted 23-7 against concurring with the House's changes, killing SB 3 for the session.
The House and Senate both adjourned in short order after that vote. The Legislature will take next week off and return Sept. 6 for the 10th of 12 allowable meeting days during the special session. Lawmakers still have not addressed Medicaid’s $85 million shortfall for next year. A state lottery (an issue on which Arise takes no position for or against) would not have generated revenue in time to avert those cuts.
A measure that could help stop the 2017 Medicaid cuts is still alive. HB 36, sponsored by Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, would use money from Alabama’s BP oil spill settlement to free up $70 million toward Medicaid’s $85 million shortfall. The House passed the bill 91-10 last week. The Senate has debated the bill but has not yet voted on it.
Medicaid provides health coverage for one in five Alabamians, mostly children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Alabama already has cut Medicaid payments to pediatricians and other primary care doctors by 30 percent starting Aug. 1, and even more cuts will follow if lawmakers do not address Medicaid’s funding shortfall.
By Chris Sanders, communications director. Posted Aug. 26, 2016.
Arise Daily News Digest 9-24-2016
AL.COM - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says new state superintendent 'like hiring Saban'.
AL.COM - Bentley says his 2015 order on gambling was 'misread,' urges local authorities to clamp down on bingo machines.
AL.COM - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley urges priorities for new prisons after corrections officer's death.
AL.COM - Ted Cruz will vote for Donald Trump, the man he once called 'utterly amoral'.
AL.COM - Jeff Sessions' chief of staff paid $27K by Donald Trump's campaign.
AL.COM - Macon County DA says investigating bingo not his job, priority.
AL.COM - Alabama joins suit alleging drug maker profiteered off opioid addicts.
AL.COM - Sessions, Shelby urge Obama not to change nuclear first-strike policy.
AL.COM – Contributor Jack Bernard: Single Payer: Because black lives matter...and so does black healthcare.
AL.COM – Contributor Alan Seals: Alabama should repeal ill-advised price gouging law.
AL.COM – Contributor Joyce Stallworth: How to respond when someone asks, 'Is the U.S. as racist as it seems?'
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER - Jesse Smith Says That He is Not the Average Democrat
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER - Bentley Announces New Army Aviation Training Center in Dothan
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS - After paving the way for VictoryLand casino to reopen, Bentley calls for it to be shut down.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS - Everything you need to know about how to absentee vote in Alabama.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Ford: People ready to fight, die for voting rights, VictoryLand.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Linda Boyle will head Central Alabama VA system.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Sen. Sessions' chief of staff also paid by Donald Trump.
WASHINGTON POST - Trump is headed for a win, says professor who has predicted 30 years of presidential outcomes correctly.
WASHINGTON POST - ‘Profoundly sad,’ ‘let down,’ ‘cuckservative': Conservatives react to Cruz backing Trump.
WASHINGTON POST - How could sexism hurt Clinton in the debates? These female high school debaters know.
NEW YORK TIMES - As Their Numbers Grow, Home Care Aides Are Stuck at $10.11
NEW YORK TIMES - Video by Wife of Keith Scott Shows Her Pleas to Police
NEW YORK TIMES - Charlotte Is Pressured to Release Police Video of Man’s Killing
SALON - Behold the GOP’s not-so-secret plan to dismantle government services: Defund, degrade and then privatize
What Alabamians should know about a state lottery
On the question of a state lottery, Arise’s member organizations hold widely varying positions, some of them based on strong moral or religious beliefs. Because our bylaws prevent us from taking positions that deeply divide our membership or offend members’ deeply held beliefs, Arise Citizens' Policy Project and Alabama Arise are neutral on the lottery. However, objective analysis reveals several lessons Alabama can learn from other states.
This fact sheet by policy analyst Carol Gundlach examines how lotteries affect revenues for public services, how they affect people living in poverty, and what questions Alabama still would have to answer if it approves a lottery.
2016 legislative update: Lottery bill squeaks through Alabama Senate; BP settlement bill also advances
(The latest: A state lottery bill died, returned to life and then died again in the Alabama Legislature this week. The House voted 64-35 Thursday night for an amended version of SB 3 that included revenue earmarks for Medicaid, education, and rural and community fire departments. That move came after the House reconsidered its initial 61-37 vote on the bill, which fell two votes short of the 63 votes required to pass a constitutional amendment. However, the Senate on Friday voted 23-7 against concurring with the House's changes, killing SB 3 for the session. The Senate has yet to vote on the BP oil spill settlement bill, HB 36. Both the House and Senate have adjourned until Sept. 6. Three meeting days remain in the session.)
By the slimmest of margins, the Alabama Senate on Friday passed a heavily amended version of Gov. Robert Bentley’s state lottery proposal. Senators voted 21-12 for the plan, giving it the 60 percent majority required for proposed constitutional amendments.
SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, now goes to the House. The Legislature will return Tuesday for its sixth of 12 possible meeting days during the special session.
Passage of SB 3, which its proponents called a “clean lottery bill,” came a day after the Senate failed to pass SB 11, also sponsored by McClendon. SB 11 not only would have created a lottery but also would have expanded gambling at six locations across the state and authorized Bentley to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Senators repeatedly amended SB 3 in an effort to make the bill more acceptable to potential opponents. Key changes included earmarking the first $100 million of state lottery proceeds for Medicaid and dedicating 10 percent of proceeds to education. (The bill initially would have directed all lottery revenue to the General Fund, which supports non-education services like health care and public safety.) However, the education provision may have been removed inadvertently during the amendment process, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
Other amendments that won Senate approval would limit further expansion of gambling, prohibit using state proceeds to advertise the lottery, and bar the lottery commission from hiring lobbyists, legislators or lawmakers’ family.
Bentley estimates the lottery would raise $225 million a year for Alabama. Proceeds from lotteries in states similar in size to Alabama ranged between $128 million and $327 million in 2014. But as more states participate, lottery revenues are declining in many parts of the country. Check out Arise’s fact sheet to learn more about how lotteries affect low-income people and state revenues.
Arise does not take a position for or against a lottery. But it’s important to note that even if a lottery passes the Legislature and wins voter approval, the proceeds would not be available in time to end the current Medicaid funding crisis. The Legislature must find an additional $85 million to address Medicaid’s 2017 shortfall and reverse the 30 percent Medicaid payment cuts to pediatricians and other primary care doctors that began Aug. 1. Medicaid provides health coverage for one in five Alabamians, mostly children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
BP settlement bill in line for Senate vote next week
One measure that could help avert the 2017 Medicaid cuts cleared a Senate committee Friday. HB 36 would issue bonds against BP oil spill settlement funds owed to the state. That revenue would be used to pay off state debts, freeing up $70 million for Medicaid. The House voted 91-10 Wednesday for the bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark.
While the Senate committee approved the House version of HB 36, changes likely will be offered on the Senate floor. If the Senate passes a different version, HB 36 would return to the House, which either could agree with the changes or send the bill to a conference committee to negotiate the differences.
By Carol Gundlach, policy analyst. Posted Aug. 19, 2016. Updated Aug. 26, 2016.
2016 legislative update: Lottery, BP settlement bills clear Alabama legislative committees as special session on Medicaid funding continues
(Update: The Alabama House voted 91-10 Wednesday to pass the BP settlement bill (HB 36). A Senate committee approved the bill Friday, positioning it for a Senate vote Tuesday. SB 11 lost a procedural vote in the Senate on Thursday, greatly reducing its chances of passage. Senators are expected to debate SB 3 on Friday.)
Two very different lottery bills won approval in the Alabama Senate’s Tourism and Marketing Committee on Tuesday, the second day of a special session prompted by a Medicaid funding shortfall. Both are sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, and the Senate could debate both as soon as Wednesday. (Check out Arise’s fact sheet to learn more about how lotteries affect low-income people and state revenues.)
SB 3, introduced at the request of Gov. Robert Bentley, creates a “simple” lottery consisting only of lottery ticket sales. SB 11 would create a ticket-based lottery but also would allow (and tax) “electronic lotteries” at existing dog tracks in Greene, Jefferson, Macon and Mobile counties. SB 11 also would authorize Bentley to seek additional state revenue by negotiating a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
SB 3 would direct state lottery revenue to the General Fund (GF), which supports non-education services like health care and public safety. SB 11 would direct state lottery and gambling tax revenues to both the GF and education budgets. Both plans would require voter approval in November.
Arise does not take a position for or against a lottery. But it’s important to note that a lottery would not produce revenue in time to fund Medicaid fully in 2017, or to reverse the 30 percent Medicaid payment cuts to pediatricians and other primary care doctors that began Aug. 1. More cuts will follow unless the Legislature addresses Medicaid's $85 million shortfall. Medicaid provides health coverage for one in five Alabamians, mostly children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
House approves BP settlement bill that could stop 2017 Medicaid cuts
One measure that could help avert Medicaid cuts in 2017 cleared the House’s GF budget committee Tuesday. HB 36, sponsored by Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, would use income from the BP oil spill settlement to offset state-issued bonds. Revenue from those bonds would be used to pay off state debts, thereby freeing up $70 million to go toward Medicaid’s $85 million shortfall in 2017. The House could consider the bill Wednesday.
Alabama needs adequate, stable Medicaid funding to avoid cuts that hurt our communities, our neighbors and our health care system. The long-term solution should include passing new revenue and closing the coverage gap for working families, Arise policy director Jim Carnes wrote on Equal Voice News. Expanding Medicaid would allow Alabama to reap considerable state savings on mental health care and other services. (Check out Arise’s fact sheet to learn more about how Medicaid expansion would benefit Alabama’s health, economy and budgets.)
By Carol Gundlach, policy analyst. Posted Aug. 16, 2016. Last updated Aug. 19, 2016.