Much of the 2024 legislative session was spent debating various gambling proposals without any related legislation passing both chambers

With House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) uninterested in pursuing gambling next session, it’s unclear when another big push will be made to put a gambling and lottery constitutional amendment before voters. That's why Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) CEO David Bronner is hoping Gov. Kay Ivey will call a special session on the matter. 

“Alabama needs new revenue. There have been no meaningful COLAs for RSA retirees in 18 years! There is no affordable healthcare coverage for nearly 200,000 Alabamians, many of whom are employed in low-paying positions. Rural hospitals are dropping like flies! Even great new programs like 'Working for Alabama' by Governor Ivey require additional funding for child care and housing to make an impact,” Bronner said in the June issue of the RSA’s The Advisor newsletter. “We also need to remember that every state agency, from State Police to Mental Health, has been grossly underfunded for decades until the federal arrival of COVID funds, which all states are now losing.”

Bronner continued, “First, I am asking each member of the RSA to encourage Governor Ivey to continue to make Alabama a little better and get the essential funds to continue improving the state with a special session on gaming.”

“Second, to thank each House and Senate member who voted for this new revenue,” he said. “Third, to ask everyone who voted against new revenue how they plan to address the state’s problems without any new revenue in light of the recent tax cuts and loss of federal monies. Alabama needs to move forward, not form a firing squad within a circle!”

Ivey has said she doesn’t plan on calling a special session on gambling. 

The House and Senate passed differing gambling and lottery proposals during the previous session. A legislative package establishing a lottery and 10 electronic casinos across the state narrowly failed by one vote in the Senate after passing the House towards the end of the session. Most of the Senators who opposed the proposal said it was too expansive.

"I would use the word 'greedy,'" State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) said on Mobile radio's "The Jeff Poor Show" on May 10. "'Ambitious' is kind. They got greedy, and I'm not talking about my colleagues. I'm talking about the gaming interests. They wanted more and more and more and more. There is a point where that is not acceptable. And good for the Alabama Senate for saying that is not acceptable, that is too much. Good for Senator Bell for saying that. I obviously voted right along with him. We want to give the people the right and the ability to vote on a lottery. We're not interested in widespread casino gaming. We certainly are not interested in the Democratic wish list of Medicaid expansion, huge increases for retirees — so much for a defined benefit plan, right?”

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