Marsh to Drop Gambling Bill, Trump Draws Crowd in Mobile

Aug 24, 2015

Donald Trump at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Credit Jeff Haller / New York Times

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh will not propose his bill to allow a statewide vote on a lottery and casinos during the second special session.

Another Republican senator, Paul Sanford of Huntsville, says he plans to introduce his own lottery proposal.

The bill Marsh championed throughout the general assembly and first special session was a constitutional amendment to allow a lottery and casinos at the state's four dog tracks.

Gov. Robert Bentley has called the gambling issue a distraction to legislators. The assembly is trying to resolve a $200 million shortfall in the General Fund budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning October 1.

Marsh's office commissioned a report from Auburn University that found his gambling plan would raise $400 million a year. Nearly $330 million of that would have come from a state lottery. The casinos were expected to create 11,000 jobs.

Alabama is preparing for the arrival of more Republicans vying for the GOP presidential nomination.

Tomorrow, Dr. Ben Carson will be arriving in Montgomery and Texas Senator Ted Cruz will be in Tuscaloosa. But their events are expected to be smaller than GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s event over the weekend in Mobile.

While in town, Trump played up his connection to one hometown politician.

“We have a great politician here. We have a man here who really helped me, and he was the one person, I sought his council because he has been so spot on, he is so highly respected. Has anyone here heard of Senator Jeff Sessions?”

Trump's rally drew around 30,000 people to Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile Friday. Tomorrow, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be attending an event in Birmingham.

A voter registration event is taking place tomorrow in Dale County.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office is putting on the event at the Midland City Town Hall tomorrow starting at 10 AM. The goal is to keep voters involved when Election Day comes.

Secretary of State John Merrill says these registration events will allow more Alabamians to register to vote and participate in future elections.

“We want to make it convenient, so we are taking voter registration drives to Walmart, we are taking them to churches on Sunday afternoons in between services. We want to make it as convenient as possible for all eligible, qualified voters to have the opportunity to register.”

Merrill says all Alabamians need is a valid form of identification such as a driver’s license to get registered to vote.