This story has been updated to include the response from Speaker Ledbetter's communications team.

MONTGOMERY — The first week of the 2024 legislative session passed without House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) engaging in his tradition of addressing the media on his priorities and expectations during the coming months.  

The first week of the session saw little to no legislation in its lower house. On Tuesday, there were hushed whispers surrounding the much-anticipated gaming legislation. Both legislative bodies awaited Gov. Kay Ivey’s State of the State Address, where she said the tightly held legislation was “good for Alabama.”

On Wednesday, the House met for fewer than 10 minutes. Later in the afternoon, members of the Alabama House Gaming Study Group revealed their plan for a comprehensive gaming bill, which included casinos, a state lottery and sports betting.

SEE: Lawmakers unveil plans to legalize gambling in Alabama — 'Above all, we believe the people deserve the right to vote on this issue'

Lawmakers who spoke to 1819 News were neutral about the proposed gambling bill. With a handful of hardline no’s, some said they would support the legislation, while most said they would wait and see as the bill moved through the legislative process.

On Thursday, the first day that media and others were given access to the full text of the gambling legislation, the House gaveled in without its speaker. House Speaker Pro Tem Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) held the gavel for another brief legislative day. Communications for Ledbetter said he did not attend any Thursday activities due to attending a friend's funeral in his hometown.  

Traditionally, the speaker addresses media on the first or last day of the first week of the session, sometimes both. This week was different. Speaker Ledbetter did not address the media during the course of the week, the first time Ledbetter had not done a media gaggle on the opening week of the session.

Editor's note: The original story stated the speaker's communications team did not respond to an inquiry from 1819 News. After speaking with Ledbetter's staff, it was revealed that their response email got lost in a spam folder. According to his staff, Ledbetter was attending a funeral for a close friend this week.

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