Committee approves lottery bills, New bathroom rules at USA

Aug 16, 2016

A Senate committee approves dueling lottery bills as lawmakers try to strike a compromise on gambling.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee pushed the bills through this afternoon. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the bills were a work in progress and he wanted a vehicle for negotiations on the Senate floor.

Republican Sen. Jim McClendon is the sponsor of both bills. One bill backed by Gov. Robert Bentley would authorize a state lottery. The other also would allow electronic lottery terminals, which can resemble slot machines, at four state dog tracks.

The Senate could vote on the bills as soon as tomorrow.

Bentley has proposed a state lottery to provide money to the state's general fund budget.

Classes at the University of South Alabama began today along with a new school policy for bathrooms and other school facilities. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more…

Starting this year, the University of South Alabama will allow all individuals on campus to use the restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

Officials at the Mobile university say the new policy aims to create a more inclusive community on campus. It’s also intended to comply with a federal directive issued earlier this year by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. Those departments say public schools who don’t comply could risk losing federal funding.

Alabama is one of a dozen states suing the federal government over the bathroom policy. A U.S. District Judge in Texas is still considering whether to issue a federal injunction in the case.

A travel nightmare that went viral on the internet may have a soft landing here in Alabama.

Richella* Heekin and her boyfriend planned a trip from their home in Great Britain to Las Vegas. She wanted to depart from Birmingham, England, but booked her flight out of Birmingham, Alabama. Virgin Airlines provided a complimentary to Vegas. Now, the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau here in Alabama has reached out to bring the couple to the Magic City.

Bureau spokeswoman Vickie Ashford says the couple will get a taste of southern hospitality…

“They were very excited to know that, you know, that they were gonna actually get an extra trip out of this. So it was, uh, you know, what started as a big mistake on her part and she talked about how she was sort of humiliated at the whole fact that this had happened. And was happy that it ended up being a really, really good ending so they were able to get two trips in one.” 

Ashford says the couple will be in Birmingham today and tomorrow. They will visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Barber Motor Sports Park and throw the first pitch at a Baron’s game among other activities.