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Alabama to Decide on Gambling

17 May 2004

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – As reported by the Birmingham News: "Gambling, a constitutional ban on gay marriage and other bills will be decided today, the final day of the 2004 legislative session.

"While the unfinished General Fund budget, a proposed cigarette tax and other taxes will take center stage today, dozens of bills are stuck in the legislative pipeline.

"But House leaders said they're hesitant to push for votes on bills to allow bingo games at dog tracks and to ban gay marriage, two of the most controversial proposals of the session, with the General Fund undone. Supporters of those bills said they are not giving up their efforts.

"…The bingo bill would allow state dog tracks to operate bingo games, in both electronic and live forms, if voters approved the proposed constitutional amendment. The bill would primarily affect the Mobile and Birmingham tracks, since the Greene County and Macon County tracks already operate the games under an existing law.

"The Senate has approved the bingo bill, but it's been stuck in the House for weeks. Backers have not been able to garner the 63 votes they need in the 105-member House to pass the constitutional amendment.

"…[Rep. Yvonne Kennedy, the House sponsor of the bill,] said lawmakers should let voters decide the gambling proposal and that the state needs the revenue gambling taxes could provide. But opponents have said the bill essentially would allow casinos at the Mobile and Birmingham tracks that could be filled with rapid-play electronic gambling machines…"

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