During an appearance on Friday's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal," Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) director of external affairs Brian Hardin questioned lawmakers' desire to expand gambling statewide.
According to Hardin, ALFA has had a "long-standing policy position" opposing gambling.
Proponents of gambling legislation offered by State Reps. Last week, Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City) and Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) maintained that passage would enable the state to crack down on existing illegal gambling.
Hardin disputed the claim, arguing that the existing laws prohibiting gambling were clear. He said enforcement of those laws was what was lacking.
"Enforcement, I think, is all about what is the commitment to enforcement," Hardin said. "We have laws on the books. The Supreme Court has ruled very clearly on what's legal and illegal. So, there's really no gray area on what is legal in the state with regard to gambling. But, what we need is a commitment to enforcement. I think the legislature can do that, obviously, without expanding gambling."
"To say that we need to expand gambling or legalize more gambling to address enforcement does not make sense," he continued. "We can certainly support, as the Farmers Federation, more enforcement and stricter enforcement of illegal gambling. But let's don't use that as an excuse to expand gambling and hurt even more people."
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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