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Bingo for Books' Bill Rekindles Showdown

3 March 2004

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- As reported by the Mobile Register: ``Lawmakers introduced a constitutional amendment Tuesday that would legalize some forms of video gambling at Alabama's four existing dog tracks, with tax revenue going to fund textbooks, technology and library improvements in public schools.

``The introduction of the bill sets up a seemingly annual ritual at the Alabama State House, as gambling proponents pit their forecast of increased state revenue against the concerns of social conservatives who warn that gambling accelerates the moral decay of society.

``But the fight has new participants this year: Alabama Education Association boss Paul Hubbert, one of state's most powerful lobbyists, and Sandra Sims-deGraffenried, executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards.

``Together the group dubbed the amendment "Bingo for Books." And they invoked the familiar argument that Alabamians already gamble at American Indian establishments around the state and at Mississippi casinos -- none of which pay Alabama gaming taxes.

``…Even with Hubbert's support, the measure would appear to have a tough legislative path. A constitutional amendment requires the support of three-fifths of the membership in each legislative house. Then it would face a statewide vote…"

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