Bentley went from gambling critic to lottery proponent, Alabama and Zika

Aug 1, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley's support of a referendum on a state lottery comes six years after he criticized gambling as a detriment to society.

The governor has consistently supported the people's right to vote on gambling. However, in his 2010 campaign, Bentley opposed all gambling because it preyed upon those who could least afford to lose money.

Asked about his past remarks, Bentley says he weighed what would be best. The governor says a lottery was the only option left for funding Medicaid, a healthcare program for the poor after the state tried cutting costs, borrowing money and raising taxes.

Bentley does not believe a lottery carried the same social problems as casino gambling.

The governor has called a special session beginning Aug. 15 on a state lottery.

Alabama residents have a chance to resolve their overdue tax bills.

The state commission of revenue is running an amnesty program for people to help make it easier for tax payers to pay without penalties. For the rest of August, the revenue staff will work with tax payers find out how much they owe.

Alabama Commissioner of Revenue Julie Magee says that some tax payers could qualify for no penalties and half the interest off. 

“Last time we did this it was in the eighties and we did not have good participation so this time, we’re advertising and we created the website and we’re really trying to promote it and let people know it exist because it’s a really good opportunity for them.”

Magee says that it takes very limited qualifications to be accepted into the program. McGee also said that the program could be used to pay off all different types of taxes and not just income tax. The Amnesty will end on August 30.

A blood bank company operating in Alabama is starting to test for the Zika virus.

Florida based One Blood owns collection centers in South Alabama as well as Georgia and Florida. Technicians will scan for Zika and will contact the donor if the results are positive.

Susan Forbes is Vice President of Communications for Oneblood. She says while people need to consider giving blood every day, the need is especially high now...

“Blood is needed every day in our communities. Summer is a difficult time to begin with because schools out and people are on vacation. The blood supply does not go on vacation and there are patients in our hospitals who could use blood every day and we are dependent on volunteer blood donors coming in to donate on a regular basis.”

Fobes also says that planning for the virus has gone on for over a year.