Bentley's Lottery Bill Faces Critical House Vote, Female Business Workshop in Huntsville

Aug 25, 2016

Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

A lottery bill is heading to a critical vote in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Today’s vote could determine whether a proposed state lottery goes before Alabama voters later this year or if the bill dies in the special session.

House members will debate Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery. Bentley is seeking the first statewide referendum on the establishment of a lottery since voters rejected the idea in 1999.

The Senate passed the bill last week without a single vote to spare, and the House vote is expected to be close. Representatives will need 63 votes for the proposed constitutional amendment to clear the House.

There is some disagreement as to whether the referendum could appear on the general election ballot November 8. Secretary of State John Merrill says lawmakers appear to have missed the deadline, but he’s seeking an emergency opinion from state Attorney General Luther Strange. Senators believe they have until the end of the week.

Legislators will convene this morning at 10 a.m.

A two-day workshop in Huntsville will help Alabama small business owners learn to compete for government contracts.

The catch is, the event is targeting female business owners—but men can join in. The workshop is entitled ChallengeHER. It is a partnership between organizations including the U.S. Small Business Administration and American Express Open.

Today’s training will be hosted by the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama and will prepare business owners for the second day. That will include a panel of government buyers along with information about the Women Owned Small Business set-aside program.

Lin Stuart is the director of programs and education for Women Impacting Public Policy. She says the workshop will help women navigate federal bureaucracy.

“We want them to have a far better understanding of how to engage with the government. It’s crazy complicated for small businesses to learn how to market to the government. You market differently to the government than you do commercially.”

The seminar is free and will take place at the Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville.

A few Alabamians will get a chance to walk a mile in the shoes of the less fortunate this afternoon.

The United Way of West Alabama is teaming up with Alabama Possible to host a poverty simulation. The event will allow participants to role-play as a member of a family living at or below the poverty line. They will work to go about their daily lives and interact with various community organizations including schools and government.

Kristina Scott is the executive director of Alabama Possible. She says the simulation helps create empathy through personal experience.

“It’s really intended to give a taste of what it’s like for the 900,000 Alabamians who live below the poverty line, and the many, many more who struggle to make ends meet from week to week, and month to month.”

The event will take place from two to five this afternoon at the McAbee Activity Center in Tuscaloosa.

Mobile authorities say a man has been rescued after falling around 40 feet into the hold of a ship out of Norway.

Mobile Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman says the man fell Wednesday night while loading rolls of paper into the ship at the Alabama State Docks. The man’s identity has not yet been released.

A crane onboard the ship was used to lift the man from where he fell and set him down on the dock.

Huffman says the man was in a lot of pain but was in stable condition as he was transported to a local hospital.