To Pregnancy Resource Centers, from Eric Johnston
The Alabama Human Life Protection Act (“AHLPA”) was signed into law on May 15, 2019. A federal court lawsuit was filed resulting in a preliminary injunction, which subsequently was dissolved by court order on June 24, 2022, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The AHLPA went into legal effect that very same day. It is now enforceable in the State of Alabama. The purpose of this memo is to briefly outline and comment on the operative provisions of the Act as follows: *
26-23H-3, 1975 Code of Alabama :
(1) The definition of abortion includes the surgical or medical (chemical) termination of the pregnancy. It does not include an activity done with the intent to:
(a) save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child
(b) remove a dead unborn child
(c) deliver the unborn child prematurely to avoid a serious health risk to
the child’s mother, or
(d) preserve the health of her unborn child.
The law permits enforcement of penalties for administering or supplying abortifacients. This includes the possibility of proceedings against those who send the drugs into Alabama. That will be the task of law enforcement. Currently, the Biden Administration says the FDA will preempt all state laws and will send drugs to all 50 states. The Alabama Attorney General says he will oppose this. Our belief at this time is that the FDA will not prevail. The law does not regulate contraceptives, plan B or in vitro fertilization.
(2) The definition does not include an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy resulting by the fertilized egg implanting or attaching outside the uterus or implanted inside the cornu of the uterus.
(3) The definition does not include a procedure to terminate the pregnancy of an unborn child that has a lethal anomaly, meaning the condition that the unborn child would die at birth or shortly thereafter or be still born.
(4) Medical emergency includes only a serious health risk defined below.
(6) A serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother includes only a medical condition that necessitates termination of the pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of a substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function. It does not include an emotional condition or mental illness.
*The numbers correspond to the numbers in the statute.
Another exception is if a psychiatrist, as a second physician unrelated to the physician who would perform the abortion, with a minimum of three years clinical experience, diagnoses a serious mental illness such that she will engage in conduct that would result in her death or the death of her unborn child. In such event, the termination shall only be performed by an Alabama licensed physician in an Alabama hospital where he or she has admitting privileges. This definition was to satisfy the medical and hospital associations, but we created an exception that there only be implemented through a substantial process to avoid abuse or a routine mental health exception practice. Also, keep in mind that since the violation of the law is a Class A felony, being ten years to life, there is a substantial deterrent to abuse.
(7) The unborn child, or person, is defined as a human being, specifically including an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability. This definition is used to provide an evidentiary basis for a criminal violation. It is the same as in the Alabama Criminal Code.
§26-23H-4, id. (a) It is unlawful to perform or attempt to perform an abortion, except where an exception applies.
(b) If the attending physician determines the abortion is necessary because of the defined exceptions, unless it is a medical emergency, the physician’s determination shall be confirmed in writing by a second physician licensed in Alabama.
§26-23H-5, id. The woman will not be criminally or civilly liable for an abortion that is performed or attempted to be performed. It is and has been APLC’s policy to not criminalize the activities of the woman, but to provide her as much assistance and guidance as possible. Additionally, by giving the woman immunity, she cannot be prosecuted or held civilly liable for obtaining an abortion in another state, nor will a person who assists her in going to another state, where abortion is legal, be prosecuted or held civilly liable.
§26-23H-6, id. (a) An abortion performed in violation of the law is a Class A felony, being inclusive of ten years to life in prison
(b) An attempted abortion performed in violation of this chapter is a Class C felony, being one year to ten years in prison.
Note: the severity of the penalty will be a deterrent to routinely provide unlawful abortions. Unlike under Alabama’s previous law, where the penalty was only a misdemeanor, it is highly unlikely anyone would engage in an abortion practice or the continued performance of unlawful abortions.
Alabama has both the Human Life Protection Act and the Alabama Constitutional Amendment, Article I, §36.06, 1901 Constitution of Alabama that recognizes the unborn child as a person without the meaning of the Alabama Constitution. This amendment serves two purposes. First, it helps shield further legal action against the AHLPA and second, it does not permit exceptions such as rape or incest. Those conditions must be carefully and charitably treated for those who come into pregnancy resource centers for assistance.
As time goes forward and the application of the AHLPA is put into practice, additional questions and concerns will arise. Please feel free to contact me at any time for guidance. Thank you for your service.
An Educational Update from Eric Johnston of the Southeast Law Institute
In 2018, the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition thought the time might be ripe for a review of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which legalized abortion on demand. In 2019, we authored the Alabama Human Life Protection Act (“AHLPA”), with the idea of being among those states which may be bringing cases to SCOTUS for review. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving a Mississippi law limiting abortion to before fifteen weeks, was the first case to make it.
In a five-four majority, Justice Samuel Alito writing for the court, rejected any incremental approach and completely threw out the right to abortion as a federal right under the U.S. Constitution. The opinion leaves the decision to the states. The opinion concentrated on two issues. The first is whether there is a U.S. Constitutional right to an abortion and the second being whether the doctrine of stare decisis would keep Roe and Casey in place. The opinion is very similar to the one leaked in February, but is significantly stronger. The opinion leaves no doubt that the federal right to abortion no longer exists in America. Whether an abortion is permitted is left up to individual states.
Without mincing words, the opinion began that “even though the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, the court [in Roe] held that it confers a broad right to obtain one. It did not claim that American law or the Common Law had ever recognized such a right, and a survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant… to the plainly incorrect ….” The opinion stopped short of calling prior Justices by name, but certainly pointed out the egregious miscarriage of justice for which they were guilty. The majority opinion, in a nutshell, states:
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely – the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in a concept of ordered liberty.”’
“The right to abortion does not fall within this category. Until the latter part of the 20th century, such a right was entirely unknown in America… Roe’s defenders characterized the abortion right as similar to the rights recognized in past decisions involving matters such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, but abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledge, because it destroys what those decisions called ‘fetal life’ and what the law now before us describes as an unborn human being” *** “Stare decisis, the doctrine on which Casey’s controlling opinion was based, does not compel upending adherence to Roe’s judicial authority. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing back a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have inflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Following that summary, the court went into detail on why there is no constitutional right to abortion. Specifically, the word is not mentioned in the constitution. However, according to Roe and Casey, the right exists under one’s rights of privacy or liberty. Those rights are based in the 14th Amendment, as well as some other amendments which Roe and Casey mentioned. However, after examining the history of abortion, the court holds such right does not exist. There’s no evidence of such rights being deeply rooted in history and tradition or being essential to the nations “scheme of ordered liberty.”
Importantly, the right to abortion is not found in the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. It is not a right protected by the constitution for which one can be deprived. “…[A] state’s regulation of abortion is not a “sex-based classification” and is thus not subject to “heightened scrutiny” … “Rather, they are governed by the same standard of review as other health and safety measures.”
The standard of review for other health and safety matters is a rational basis review. In other words, “…states may regulate abortion for legitimate reasons, but when such regulations are challenged under the constitution, courts cannot ‘substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies.” *** “A law regulating abortion, like other health and welfare laws, is entitled to ‘strong presumption of validity.’ It must be sustained if there is a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought that it would serve legitimate state interests… These legitimate interests include respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development….” Since there is no long history of abortion rights and ordered liberty, these rights do not exist and “…the people in various states may elevate those interests differently. In some states, citizens may believe that the abortion right should be more extensive than the right that Roe and Casey recognized. Citizens in other states may wish to impose tight restrictions based on their belief that abortion destroys an ‘unborn human being.”’
The next area of inquiry was whether SCOTUS should disturb the Roe and Casey precedents. The doctrine of stare decisis essentially states that courts will base their continuing opinions on precedent and not disturb earlier opinions. However, the doctrine is “not an inexorable command.” Courts, like people, make mistakes. The court examined several factors to be reviewed in determining whether prior precedents should be reversed. The first was the “nature of the court’s error” having found that “Roe was also egregiously wrong and deeply damaging… and on a collision course with the constitution from the day it was decided…” The court referenced Justice Byron White’s dissent in Roe that the court acted only through its “raw judicial power” to “usurp the power to address the question of profound moral and social importance that the constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.” In other words, the court’s error was so significant that it demanded reversal.
The court also examined the quality of the reasoning in Roe. Finding that it totally failed on its historical review, there was no quality. Additionally, the plurality opinion in Casey “pointedly reframed from endorsing most of [Roe’s] reasoning. Therefore, neither case had the requisite strength to continue as precedent.
A third factor examined was whether the opinion was workable. In several places the opinion pointed out that in Roe and Casey SCOTUS was acting like a legislative body. The trimester concept, the viability concept, and then the undue burden standard that Roe and Casey created were all unworkable theories, without history or explanation, and without the court providing guidance. How then could these opinions be workable?
Two wrongs do not make a right. What would Dobbs do? Three wrongs would not have made a right. Both Roe and Casey were wrong, yet the issue of abortion raged for another thirty years after Casey. Casey should have reversed Roe, but the doctrine stare decisis kept that from happening. Finally, in Dobbs, the court has removed the so called right of abortion from the U.S. Constitution.
On the day Dobbs was released, Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a motion to dismiss the case against AHLPA and Judge Myron Thompson granted it. Alabama’s law went into effect immediately.
We had hoped Dobbs would define the unborn child as a “person” within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, thereby prohibiting abortion everywhere. Both Alito in the main opinion and Kavanaugh in his concurring opinion did not do that. The decision is left to the states. Also, we must be wary that the U.S. Congress could establish a national statute prohibiting abortion. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution may override state laws. That is why federal elections are so important.
For now in Alabama, we accomplished our goal. The unborn child is a person here.
Many committed Alabamians have worked for many years to accomplish the goal that has now been reached. We initially worked prior to Casey for a reversal of Roe. When that did not happen, Alabama passed a law to prohibit post viability abortions and then numerous other laws to improve the healthcare of women, along with reducing the number of abortions. While there may be minor changes to our course, we have finally protected unborn children in Alabama.
The Alabama Pro-Life Coalition will now turn its attention to helping those women, unborn children and their families who have unexpected or problem pregnancies. APLC worked last year and is already working this year on several projects to provide aide to them. It will be seeking assistance from state agencies as well as non-governmental agencies to provide resources of every description to help those in need. SLI is pleased to be a partner with their efforts. Also, we must address the issue of the FDA permitting the purchasing of abortion producing drugs from out of state. This is prohibited by the AHLPA, but must be enforced. We will have issues still unknown to address.
This statement is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal assistance. We hope if you have questions or know of those who do, you will contact us and we can assist through referral to one of our cooperating attorneys. © 2022, Southeast Law Institut
Dr. George Barna, who is with the Cultural Research Center, discussed his latest research concerning the upcoming November elections with ALCAP President and CEO Greg Davis on Monday, October 31st. They covered the issues that matter most to the public, including inflation and crime. They also talked about the issues that prospective voters cared about the least, such as the environment and religious freedom.
The conversation, which occurred on Priority Talk Radio, then moved to what pastors should do with this information.
“2 out of 3 people across the country said they are dying for their pastor to teach them how to think about [these issues],” said Dr. George Barna.
You can listen to the podcast episode here.
On Friday, October 21st, Stephanie Holden Smith of the Thatcher Coalition talks to ALCAP President and CEO Greg Davis on Priority Talk about what she sees as the death of American Feminism. Modern Feminism, according to Stephanie, is not what it used to be. How can she say this? A discerning person needs to follow the money and think through the values being espoused.
She says, “My argument is that Feminism as an American movement is not only unnecessary––because American women enjoy every freedom that American men enjoy… The movement has basically been bought and paid for by the abortion lobby, and it’s really just an excuse to advocate for abortion up until birth.”
Stephanie Holden Smith and Greg Davis talk about the history of Feminism and take the listener all the way up to the present day. They also talk about our culture broadly and the state of the economy.
You can listen to the podcast version of the conversation here.
On Wednesday, October 19, attorney Eric Johnston of The Southeast Law Institute joined ALCAP President and CEO Greg Davis on Priority Talk to update the citizens of Alabama on various gambling issues in the state. They walk through the history of gambling in the state, and bring the conversation to the present day.
With the development of technology, there is a new frontier that must also be addressed: electronic and online gambling. Gambling goes beyond simple card games these days, and Christians need to be aware of its various forms.
“A lot of our legislators, both Republican and Democrat, are all for comprehensive gambling and/or a lottery here in the state of Alabama,” Greg said.
Let your local representatives know that you are not!
You can find the podcast episode here.
On Thursday, October 13, ALCAP President and CEO Greg Davis joined with ALCAP advisor Christine Carr in releasing an open letter to Alabama urging them to be aware and act against the acceptance of medical marijuana in their community. They write that many innocent people with honest intentions are tricked into supporting a movement that only leads to addiction and other destructive practices. The letter is designed to help inform and educate its readers so that they will not believe lies on this important issue.
The letter, published by The Alabama Baptist, states: “The profit-driven marijuana industry will wreak havoc in your community, as they have done in other states before us, if you do not speak out and help stem the coming tide.”
Greg Davis and Christine Carr go on to discuss the devastation that marijuana causes, why the term “medical marijuana” is misleading, the money motives behind the whole movement, and much more. We urge the citizens of Alabama to stand up against the legalization of medical marijuana.
You can read the open letter here.
SB184, also known as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection act, prevents parents from allowing hormone blockers and/or surgical procedures to be used on their children under the age of 19. There are exceptions in the legislation for using hormone blockers, but they cannot be used for the purpose of trying to change the sexual appearance of a child before that child can make their own decision. At the signing, Governor Ivey said, “There are very real challenges facing our young people, especially with today’s societal pressures and modern culture. I believe very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl. We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life. Instead, let us all focus on helping them to properly develop into the adults God intended them to be.“
HB322, requires school children to use the bathroom that matches their sex at birth. An amendment was added that prevents sexual orientation from being taught in grades K-5. On the signing of this bill, Governor Ivey said, “Here in Alabama, men use the men’s room, and ladies use the ladies’ room – it’s really a no brainer. This bill will also ensure our elementary school classrooms remain free from any kind of sex talk. Let me be clear to the media and opponents who like to incorrectly dub this the “Don’t Say Gay” amendment: That is misleading, false and just plain wrong. We don’t need to be teaching young children about sex. We are talking about five-year-olds for crying out loud. We need to focus on what matters – core instruction like reading and math.“
SEXUAL ISSUES RELATED TO CHILDREN
On Thursday, April 7, 2022, the last day of the Regular Session, we experienced two stunning victories in the Alabama Legislature. The Alabama Senate passed HB322 that requires school children to use the bathroom that matches their sex at birth. An amendment was added that prevents sexual orientation from being taught in grades K-5, and the House voted to concur with the Senate amendment. Now the bill must go to the Governor for her signature.
The second victory was the passage of SB184 in the House. Known as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (VCAP), this bill prevents parents from allowing hormone blockers and/or surgical procedures to be used on their children under the age of 19. There are exceptions in the legislation for using hormone blockers, but they cannot be used for the purpose of trying to change the sexual appearance of a child before that child can make their own decision.
We have worked for three years to get this bill passed, and now, it has been accomplished. Again, this bill must go to the Governor for her signature.
As we reported in an ALCAP Alert last week, All pro-gambling bills failed to get to either the Senate or the House floor for debate. We want to thank everyone who worked with ALCAP to stop gambling expansion again this year, but we fully expect it to keep resurfacing. Gambling bosses will not give up, so neither should we.
ACTION TO TAKE: During the next few weeks, as candidates are begging for your vote, let them know that you do NOT want them supporting pro-gambling bills. Let them know that we don’t need to vote on legalizing more gambling, but we want our local and state-elected officials to enforce the current gambling laws by shutting down illegal casinos. No where in America has legalized gambling stopped illegal gambling. If they are not going to stop the illegal gambling taking place now, why would legalizing it stop illegal gambling going forward? For more information on how state-sponsored lotteries and state-sanctioned casinos are failed public policies in every state where they are legal, visit www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
The Legislature passed several alcohol bills during this session. Though ALCAP opposed all of these bills and spoke out against them at public hearings, we were able to have positive input and get amendments added that help to restrict alcohol as much as possible.
HB119, sponsored by Rep. Gil Isbell, allows for the sell of beer and wine at drive-thru windows. After passing the House, a Senate committee added an amendment from Sen. Steve Livingston that would allow “spirits” (hard liquor) to be sold at drive-thru windows, as well. Thankfully, that amendment was removed before the bill finally passed the Senate.
HB234, sponsored by Rep. Neil Rafferty, allows for food trucks in Birmingham (only) to sell alcoholic beverages. ALCAP managed to get an amendment added that restricts this practice to times when the food trucks are parked at existing entertainment districts where alcohol is already allowed. In other words, a food truck may not pull up anywhere they want (including near schools or churches) and sell alcohol.
HB395, sponsored by Rep. Joe Lovvorn, allows certain Alabama universities and community colleges to teach brewing and distilling practices as a part of their “hospitality” education programs. Some of ALCAP’s concerns were addressed by an amendment that requires the college or university to have a full-fledged campus police force and not just a security detail, but we still foresee major problems with the passage of this legislation.
Working with others, ALCAP was unable to get a bill passed that would restrict the sell of “medical” marijuana to pregnant women once the “medical” marijuana dispensaries begin opening in the next few months. ALCAP will continue to work to restrict marijuana sales, but Alabamians, and especially churches, need to get ready for what is coming. Greg Davis reported that he saw an interview with the “medical” marijuana commissioner, John McMillan, in which Mr. McMillan claimed that “some people” (a clear reference to ALCAP) are untruthful when we warn of “pot shops (a.k.a., dispensaries) on every corner.” He claimed that there will only be 37 dispensaries state-wide. When pressed by the interviewer, he went on to acknowledge, however, that “37” is only the beginning. He said that as demand rises, more dispensaries will be added. This is exactly what ALCAP has been warning about!
ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your local city council and county commissioners, and ask them to NOT allow dispensaries in your community. When this bill was passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Governor Ivey last year, ALCAP was able to get an amendment added that required city councils or county commissions to vote on whether or not a dispensary could be built in their city or county. Your local officials will be heavily lobbied by the marijuana industry to approve these pot shops, so you need to let your voices of opposition be heard.
As of May 1, 2022, Greg Davis will officially take over as the President and CEO of ALCAP and American Character Builders (our educational program). Please pray for him and Kyle Brassell, who will be taking over for “also-retiring” Cheryl Corley. I ask that you pray for Greg and Kyle, and continue to support them and these two ministries with your prayers and financial gifts.
On behalf of Cheryl and myself and all the staff and directors who preceded us (and our/their families), I want to thank you for your friendship and prayers for us through the years. The need for organizations like ALCAP and American Character Builders continues to be great, so continue on as Christ’s soldiers in the spiritual battles we will keep facing until Jesus returns. I will continue to be engaged and serving in a supportive role and I look forward to what God is going to accomplish through us all in the days ahead. — Joe Godfrey
As reported in our “ALCAP Alert!” earlier this week, the competing gambling expansion bills in the House and Senate cancelled out one another. Both sets of bills could not find enough support, so the leadership in both houses have decided to stop pushing all gambling for the 2022 Regular Session. This is good news, and we are grateful to all of you who contacted your State Representatives and Senators to tell them of your opposition to gambling expansion in Alabama. Thank you, too, for your prayers!
The pro-gambling forces will not stop, so you can expect the push for gambling to resume next year after newly-elected legislators take office. That is why it is important that you encourage candidates for the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate to vote NO on all gambling expansion bills. If they say, “Well, I am personally opposed to gambling, but I want to let the people vote,” remind them that the gambling bosses will far outspend opponents so it would be more accurate to say that you want to let the gambling bosses BUY the people’s votes. Remind them, too, that we live in a representative republic, and we ARE voting by electing you to stop this predatory practice of gambling in our state.
VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)
The VCAP bill has passed the Senate and two House committees and is waiting to be placed on the House Special Order Calendar for debate on the floor of the House. With only 4 legislative days left, time is running out for them to pass this important legislation. This bill will protect children up to age 19 from being abused by parents who want to permanently change the sexual appearance of their child until the child is an adult and can make his/her own decision about this matter. There are exceptions in the bill for the legitimate use of hormone blockers, but the bill will prevent parents from using hormone blockers and surgical procedures for the purpose of changing the sexual appearance of their child.
Our friends at the Eagle Forum of Alabama hosted a press conference at the State House this week urging the House leadership to put this bill on the Special Order Calendar. Click on the photo below to view the report from this press conference as it appeared on Montgomery’s WSFA-TV12 on Thursday evening.
After passing a major “medical” marijuana bill last year, efforts have been underway to add restrictions to the law. SB324, sponsored by Sen. Larry Stutts (a practicing OB/GYN), would ban the sale of marijuana to women who test positive for pregnancy. As the sponsor explained in a Senate committee this week, marijuana is not listed as a medicine anywhere in federal law or medical regulations. That’s the reason this bill is necessary. Once “medical” marijuana dispensaries begin opening all over this state next year, employees (who are not trained pharmacists) will be unable to discuss drug interactions or the dangers of marijuana use with pregnant women. The marijuana industry is fighting this bill because they do not want restrictions on any of their products. Their ultimate goal is to legalize recreational marijuana.
Again, since time is running out on this session, it is important that the Senate put this bill on their Special Order Calendar this coming Tuesday, pass the bill, and send it to the House for committee approval and a vote on the House floor.
ACTION TO TAKE: Contact Sen. Jabo Waggoner’s office and Sen. Greg Reed’s office and ask them to place SB324 on the Special Order Calendar for Tuesday, April 5. Then, contact your own State Senator and ask him/her to vote YES on SB324.
In order to contact your legislators, click on the link above to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.
Alcohol expansion bills are continuing to move through the Alabama Legislature. This week a bill that calls for state universities and community colleges to teach young people how to brew and distill alcohol passed the Senate and now goes to the Governor for her signature. There is a limit of only 3 community colleges that will be allowed to offer this kind of education and, though we opposed the bill, ALCAP supported the requirement that a university or community college have a full-fledge police force (not just a security team) in order to qualify to teach this course.
SB259, sponsored by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, received a public hearing in the House Tourism Committee on Thursday morning of this week. This bill removes the cap of 60,000 barrels of beer manufactured per year for a brewpub to be able to continue to sell its product in-store. If the brewpub or its corporate owners manufacture over 60,000 barrels a year, the brewpub becomes a manufacturer, which is not allowed to sell in-store. ALCAP spoke against this bill during the public hearing.
Great news to report! It appears that all gambling expansion bills (HB501, HB502, SB293, SB294) are “dead” for this legislative session. We will give more details in our weekly ALCAP Update at the end of the week.
Thank you for your prayers and for contacting your legislators concerning this issue.
It is possible, but unlikely that one or more of these bills could be resurrected. There are only 6 legislative days left after today, so time is running out for these bills to come up.
This week’s update is a little different because the Alabama Legislature is on Spring Break. They return next week (March 29) with only 7 legislative days left to do business.
Instead of focusing on such important bills as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (VCAP bills HB150 and SB184), which protect children from parents who want to change their child’s sexual appearance, and SB324 which prohibits marijuana dispensaries (once they are up and running) from selling marijuana to pregnant women [Click here for information], it appears that all the Alabama Legislature has time for is pushing gambling.
Though legislators are not at the State House this week, go ahead and send them emails and letters, and call if you have their phone numbers. Let them know that you are opposed to gambling expansion in this state. Don’t listen to their rhetoric about how the bills will restrict gambling because that is simply not true.
Sen. Greg Albritton’s bill, SB293, will result in a state-sponsored lottery, a total of 8 full-fledged casinos, 2 satellite casinos (10 in total), and sports betting in the casinos and online. Rep. Chip Brown’s “lottery only” bill (HB501) will result in lottery ticket outlets at every convenience store in Alabama and possibly Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), which are nothing more than slot machines, in convenience stores and grocery stores throughout the state.
Most of the lottery tickets will end up in the trash cans and landfills of this great state while more homes are torn apart and more lives are destroyed. Both bills actually call for money to be designated for problem gamblers (an indication that the legislators know the number of problem gamblers in Alabama will increase substantially).
Let me give you a little lesson concerning the odds of a person purchasing a winning lottery ticket:
- The odds of winning a Standard Lotto are 1 in 14 million (an average golfer is more likely to get 1,100 holes-in-one than they are to win a Standard Lottery jackpot).
- The odds of winning a PowerBall Lottery are 1 in 175 million.
- The odds of winning a Megamillions Lottery are 1 in 260 million! A person’s odds of winning a jackpot in this lottery are so bad that you are FAR more likely to be killed by an asteroid!
Yet, State Legislators want to lure you, the citizens they are constitutionally supposed to be protecting from fraudulent businesses, into throwing away your money on pieces of paper that will likely end up in the trash can. If legislators were on the payroll for a major investment firm, they would go to jail for decades if they suggested or invested their clients’ money this way.
And, the media seems to be complicit in this fraudulent scam. They report only on the big winners in other states and never tell the stories of gambling addicts whose lives have been destroyed. They interview people who drive to other states occasionally, without reporting that far more people will gamble, and they will gamble more money if the lottery ticket outlets and/or casinos are in their own neighborhoods.
Remember that all the money that legislators tout as coming to the state through gambling will be coming out of the pockets of the citizens of Alabama! Do people in Alabama already gamble? Yes. But they will gamble a whole lot more if gambling is legalized and outlets and casinos are put in their neighborhoods. Also, illegal gambling will not stop and corruption will become an even greater problem in this state.
ACTIONS TO TAKE:
1) We need to stop this insanity! Call your State Representative today and let him/her know that you OPPOSE HB501 (the “Lottery Only Bill”) and call your State Senator to let him/her know that you OPPOSE SB293 (the “Lottery, Casino, Sports Betting & Online Sports Betting Bill”).
2) Ask your State Representative to SUPPORT HB150 and/or SB184 (the “VCAP Bills”). Also, contact Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon and ask him to allow these bills to come to the floor for debate and a vote. Also, call Governor Ivey’s office and ask her to encourage a vote on the VCAP Bill.
3) Ask your State Senator to SUPPORT SB324 (the “Marijuana During Pregnancy Bill”). Also, contact Governor Ivey’s office and Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth’s office and ask them to allow this bill to advance before time runs out on this Legislative Session.
PRESIDENT AND CEO JOE GODFREY ON ABC 33/40
Friday afternoon, President and CEO, Dr. Joe Godfrey, was interviewed by ABC 33/40 news in Birmingham about the new lottery only bill introduced in the House last week. Click the image above to watch the video to learn how a state sponsored lottery would harm the state and its citizens.
Gambling took center stage again this week as Rep. Chip Brown introduced HB501 (a constitutional amendment to allow Alabama voters to decide on legalizing a state-sponsored “lottery only,” with no casinos) and HB502 (“enabling legislation” that details how the lottery would be implemented). These bills are competing with Sen. Greg Albritton’s gambling bills (SB293 and SB294) that were introduced in the Senate a couple of weeks ago. Albritton’s bills call for a state-sponsored lottery, 8 full-fledged casinos, 2 satellite casinos (a total of 10 casinos), and sports betting online and at the casinos. ALCAP thought that SB293 and SB294 would be on the Senate’s Special Order Calendar this week, but they were not. Albritton was apparently not happy and spent a little time filibustering the Senate in protest.
HB501 and HB502 were passed out of the House Tourism Committee in a special called meeting of that committee early Thursday morning, indicating that the House leadership is “fast-tracking” these bills. The legislature will be on Spring Break next week, but we anticipate that these two gambling bills will be on the House Special Order Calendar when they return on Tuesday, March 29. ALCAP’s Greg Davis and Joe Godfrey spoke against these bills during a public hearing and were interviewed by various media outlets afterward. [See below for links to some of the articles and video interviews.]
ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your House Member and ask him/her to vote NO on HB501. Ask them to vote NO on both the Budget Isolation Resolution (“BIR,” which is a procedural vote) and on final passage of the bill. HB501, because it is a constitutional amendment, must receive a yes vote from 3/5 of the body (that would be 63 votes in the House).
Contact your State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on SB293. Ask them to vote NO on both the BIR and on final passage if this bill comes to the Senate floor for debate. SB293 will require that 3/5 of the Senate vote yes since it is a constitutional amendment (that would be 21 votes in the Senate).
In order to contact your legislators, click on the link above to navigate to the ALCAP website. At the ALCAP website click on the “find my legislator” button and enter your full street address. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find your Alabama State Legislator.
VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)
The VCAP bills continue to be held up in the House. These companion bills (HB150, sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen and SB184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt) protect children under the age of 19 from parents who want them to receive hormone blockers and/or have surgical procedures performed for the purpose of changing their sexual appearance. There are exceptions included in the bills for legitimate uses of hormone blockers. SB184 passed out of the Senate earlier this session, and it (and HB150) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee a couple of weeks ago. However, like last year, the House leadership is keeping these bills from coming to the floor of the House for debate and a vote.
ACTION TO TAKE: Contact your Alabama House Member and ask him/her to vote YES on HB150 or SB184 whenever these bills come to the floor. Contact Rep. Mac McCutcheon, Speaker of the House, and ask him to let one or both of these bills be placed on the Special Order Calendar as soon as possible. There are only 7 legislative days left in the 2022 Regular Session, so time is running out for them to protect these children!
PRESIDENT AND CEO JOE GODFREY ON CBS42 NEWS
Following the public hearing on the Lottery bill in the House Tourism Committee, ALCAP President and CEO, Joe Godfrey, was interviewed by CBS42 News to provide ALCAP’s position on the bill. Click on the image below to watch the video.
Joe Godfrey: Ten reasons to oppose a state lottery
Why does ALCAP oppose and why should Christians be opposed to the lottery? There are a number of reasons, but here are the “Top Ten Reasons To Oppose A State-Sponsored Lottery”…
‘Lottery-only’ bills filed in Alabama House with only a few days left in 2022 session
As the clock ticks on the 2022 Alabama legislative session, Alabama Citizens Action Program is monitoring several late-filed gambling bills now under consideration with only seven legislative days remaining.