Senate Fails to Vote on Revamped Lottery Bill, Reparations Bill for Anthony Ray Hinton

Aug 19, 2016

Alabama Senators have once again failed to vote on a lottery proposal.

The Senate spent much of the day yesterday debating and revamping a lottery bill backed by Senator Jim McClendon that would establish a state lottery as well as electronic gambling machines in several Alabama locations. But Senators ultimately decided not to vote, after a test vote indicated the bill didn’t have enough support to pass.

Senator McClendon accepted several changes to the bill in an effort to get it through the Senate. Electronic gambling terminals would be allowed in Houston and Lowndes counties in addition to the four state dog tracks. And the potential state referendum date was pushed back from November 8 to December 20. Some lawmakers were concerned about the gambling referendum coinciding with the general election.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley called lawmakers into special session to consider a lottery bill to fund Medicaid and other essential state services. Bentley has said he would prefer a bill simply authorizing a state lottery, rather than also including electronic games.

An Alabama Senate committee is considering payment for a man who did prison time for a crime he didn’t commit.

Anthony Ray Hinton spent thirty years behind bars after being falsely convicted of a double murder. Alabama’s Wrongful Incarceration Act says Hinton should get one and half million dollars. A Senate bill currently being considered offers just a half million.

Birmingham attorney Richard Jaffe represented another man wrongfully imprisoned for murder. He says the wrongful incarceration act isn’t fair.

“In order to get reparation at fifty thousand dollars for every year you’ve spent, you’ve spent, you have to prove almost mathematically that you’re innocent, and that’s an impossible verdict…or burden.”

The Alabama Public Radio news team is preparing a continuing series of reports on justice reform and prison reform. The Wrongful Incarceration Act is one of the many topics we’ll highlight in the coming weeks.

The Druid City Garden Project is looking for volunteers to help gardens grow for local school kids.

The gardens will be located at elementary schools around the Tuscaloosa area. They are used for hands-on experiences for children in science classes.

Lindsay Turner is the executive director of Druid City Garden Project. She says these gardens are important in the education of kids in the area.

“We were talking to our kids about what they were going to get to grow in their gardens, you know, one child raised his hand and said ‘Oh! Are we going to be able to grow ice cream in the garden today?’ Which, to us, was such a great illustration of how far we have come. You know, our kids don’t know, often, anything other than that food comes from the grocery store.”

Visit Druid City Garden Project’s website to learn more about their mission or find out how to help.