Once again, the state Senate is considering so-called comprehensive gaming legislation with the intent of creating a framework to regulate gambling in Alabama.
The package of bills brought by State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) made it out of committee last week and will be considered by the entire Alabama state Senate.
State Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston), a primary sponsor of last year's effort in the Alabama Senate, told Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal" he hoped the House of Representatives would take a serious look at the Senate bill this year.
According to the Calhoun County Republican lawmaker, gaming legislation was a "mandate of the people."
"It's going to be interesting," Marsh said. "The bill was pretty much a mirror image of last year's bill. Here's what I know, and it hasn't changed from last year: A high percentage of Alabamians -- Republican, Democrat, men, women, across the spectrum want to have a vote on the lottery, and a very high percentage of them, [want] gaming in general.
"In my opinion, this is kind of a mandate of the people. They want a chance to address this issue. All this legislation is going to do is give them that chance. So, I would hope the House, because the Senate passed this bill last year, I would hope the House would see the wisdom in letting the people of the state of Alabama address this issue they've asked to address in the last several years.
Marsh said he understands that some people are hesitant to deal with this large piece of legislation because it is an election year.
"But I believe this one is so popular with the public in terms of what it is going to address that I would [hope] the House would take it up," said Marsh.
Marsh was dismissive of critics who claimed the legislation would legitimize some of the facilities operating outside the law.
"I think in politics, you've got to be realistic," Marsh said. "If you want to get somewhere, you have to get everybody at the table."
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