Lottery Bills Stall in State Senate, School Bullying a Major Problem in Alabama

Aug 18, 2016

Alabama State Senate

Two dueling lottery bills both stalled in the state Senate yesterday amid deep disagreements over how to enact the proposal.

Alabama senators debated both bills for several hours before finally giving up and moving on to other legislation. One, backed by Governor Robert Bentley, would simply establish a state lottery and use the proceeds to shore up the state’s general fund. The other, backed by Senator Jim McClendon, would also allow for electronic slot machine-type games at the state’s four dog tracks.

Lawmakers were deeply divided over the two bills. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said neither bill had the 21 votes needed to pass the Senate.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a measure to use oil spill settlement money to pay off state debt and build roads in south Alabama. Representative Steve Clouse says paying that state debt early will also free up state funding that’s currently earmarked, which could provide most of the additional $85 million needed by Medicaid in the upcoming fiscal year.

That bill now moves to the Senate.

A new study ranks Alabama as having the eighth worst school bullying problem in the country. These rankings were based off a variety of measures.

The list, published by the finance website WalletHub, includes the percentage of students who missed school out of fear of being bullied and the strength of state laws regarding bullying and cyberbullying.

Alabama was one of five southern states ranked among the top ten worst bullying problems. Jill Gonzalez is an analyst with WalletHub. She says Alabama scored particularly poorly in several areas.

“One of them was the percentage of high school students who engaged in physical fights on school property last year, at about ten percent of all high schoolers. The percentage of students who attempted suicide at just around eleven percent and that was the fifth highest in the country.”

The results come from WalletHub’s analysis of bullying factors in forty-five states and Washington, D.C.

If you want to learn how to build a website or mobile app but don’t know where to start, a group in Mobile may be able to help.

Depot/U is holding an open house in Mobile this evening for people to come learn about the group’s first-ever website development boot camp on the Gulf Coast. The course is an intensive 10-week program that teaches beginners how to become front-end website engineers. Those interested will be able to meet with instructors and the company’s leadership team as well as potential employers.

Claire Flowers is a community organizer for Depot/U. She hopes these courses will allow Alabama’s tech companies to hire locally.

“We’re very passionate about growing tech communities, and that’s what we hope to accomplish in Mobile, is attract people to Mobile so the companies there can pull from our developer resources and grow their businesses on a local level.”

Tonight’s open house will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 at Rural Sourcing on Saint Louis Street in Mobile. The event is free, but those interested in attending are encouraged to register online ahead of time.