March 15, 2024

Gambling Legislation Update: Senate Bills Sent to House

Amended gambling legislation passed by the Senate last Thursday is heading back to the House of Representatives when legislators return to the State House next week.

HB 151 and HB 152 by Rep. Chris Blackshear, R-Phenix City, would expand gambling in Alabama if passed by the Legislature and approved by voters.

HB 151, a constitutional amendment, and HB 152, the enabling legislation, passed the House in February before being substantially altered and passed by the Senate last week. Despite changes to the gambling package, the Senate versions of the bills are still problematic, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Federation policy opposes all forms of gambling, and the most recent adaptations are no exception.

The Senate versions provide for a state-run lottery, the establishment of a gaming enforcement division and amnesty for existing gambling establishments operating under local constitutional amendments. Sites in Greene, Houston, Jefferson, Lowndes, Macon and Mobile counties would be “grandfathered” in and could continue operation. Those sites would be authorized to conduct live horse or dog racing and operate historical horse racing machines, which allow players to bet on historical races digitally. These machines are the functional equivalent of slot machines.

The legislation could also expand gambling on tribal lands under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The federal law allows Indian Nations to engage in numerous types of gambling activities on tribal lands. By authorizing a state lottery, Alabama would open the door for federal authorities to authorize the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to operate full-scale casinos on any tribal lands they currently possess or acquire in the future. Under this framework, Alabama could have numerous casinos across the state in addition to the state lottery.

Federation External Affairs Department Director Brian Hardin said this legislation is bad public policy, even with changes.

"We still believe this is bad public policy that could affect all Alabama citizens," Hardin said. "Everyone is encouraged to reach out to their legislators and share their issues with these bills and ask them to vote against gambling."

HB 151 and 152 will go back to the House Tuesday for concurrence. If agreement is not reached, a conference committee could convene to further amend the bills. Those amended versions would then be voted on by the House and Senate without opportunity for amendments.

Members are urged to contact legislators and ask them to vote 'no' on any upcoming gambling legislation.

Young Farmer Healthcare Survey

The Alabama Farmers Federation needs to hear from you about you and your farm. Rising costs of healthcare and health insurance are driving farmers off the farm and even out of business. The Alabama Farmers Federation is exploring ways to help lower the cost of health coverage, especially for young farmers, but we need your input. 

Please take a few minutes to answer these questions about your current situation and how assistance might change your operation. All responses are anonymous.



Thank you for your valuable input. 

Legislators Trade Suits and Ties for Boots and Jeans at Youth Livestock Shows

Alabama legislators took time during Legislative Constituent Services Week to support family and friends at the Junior Livestock Exposition (JLE) in Montgomery Thursday.

Top from L to R: Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, Sen. Jack Williams, R-Wilmer, Federation President Jimmy Parnell and Sen. Josh Carnley, R-Ino, were on hand during the Beef Showmanship portion of JLE. Price's granddaughter competed, as did Carnley's son.

Bottom from L to R: Federation President Jimmy Parnell, Rep. Van Smith, R-Clanton, and Federation External Affairs Department Director Brian Hardin discuss the impact of livestock shows on Alabama's youth and the future of agriculture.

Bills in Brief

Property Tax Cap Bill - HB 73 by Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Killen, would cap annual ad valorem tax increases at 5% for Class II commercial and business property and Class III residential, agricultural, forestry and historic property as substituted by the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee. Other Southern states have enacted similar measures. Between 2021 and 2022, the average Class III increase was 13%, with some counties seeing jumps of 20-42%. A companion bill, SB 110 by Sen. David Sessions, R-Grand Bay, has been assigned to the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee and is on the agenda for Wednesday. HB 73 is supported by the Federation.

Lab-Grown Meat Prohibition Bill - SB 23 by Sen. Jack Williams, R-Wilmer, was reported favorably out of the House Health Committee with a substitute. The bill would prohibit the manufacture and sale of cultivated or cultured meat products. The bill defines a cultivated meat product as one that is produced from cultured animal cells. “Lab-grown meat” or “cultured meat” is a developing product which is still being heavily researched. The process involves taking live cells from animals and then culturing those cells in a controlled environment to produce a food product. Federation policy opposes the labeling of any of these products as meat. SB 23 is supported by the Federation and could be before the Senate as early as Tuesday.

Agricultural Fencing Sales Tax Exemption Bill - SB 73 by Sen. Jack Williams, R-Wilmer, passed the Senate Finance and Taxation Education committee with an amendment. SB 73 would exempt the sale of fencing materials used in agricultural livestock operations from the state sales tax. The amendment requires the purchaser to submit an affidavit confirming the agricultural use of the product to the seller. The affidavit would be made available by the Department of Revenue. SB 73 is supported by the Federation and could be before the Senate as early as Tuesday.

Ballot Harvesting Prevention Bill - SB 1 by Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, would make 'ballot harvesting' illegal in Alabama. The bill was approved by the House and goes back to the Senate for concurrence. 'Ballot harvesting' is when an individual pays someone for assistance in filling out an absentee ballot, which is linked to voter fraud. Proponents of the bill argued its necessity in securing Alabama elections. SB 1 is supported by Federation policy.

ESG Investment Prohibitions - SB 151 by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, would create policy prohibiting investments by certain state entities in financial institutions prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. The bill instead directs the State Treasurer and Board of Control of the Retirement System of Alabama and Teachers' Retirement System of Alabama to make investments that have a high likelihood of return without ESG criteria. SB 151 would also prohibit any state entity from considering ESG criteria when awarding a public contract wholly funded by state funds for the procurement of goods and services and would require state entities to only consider pecuniary factors. This follows Federation-supported ESG legislation which passed during the 2023 Legislative Session.

Seafood Labeling - HB 66 by Rep. Chip Brown, R-Hollingers Island, would require food service establishments to display country of origin for seafood products, use correct/common names for products, and inform consumers if fish and shrimp are farm-raised or wild. HB 66 has been assigned to the Senate Ag, Conservation and Forestry committee and is on the agenda for Wednesday.

Alabama Fire College Commission - SB 88 by Sen. April Weaver, R-Brierfield, would increase the members of the Alabama Firefighters' Personnel Standards and Education Commission from seven to nine. The bill would add one paid and one volunteer firefighter to the commission after amendment in the Senate County and Municipal Government Committee on Wednesday. The appointments would be made by the presiding officer of the Senate, and be approved by the full Senate. The bill now awaits action in the Senate.

ATV/UTV Titling - HB 233 by Rep. Jeff Sorrells, R-Hartford, would require every off-road vehicle manufactured on or after January 1, 2026, to receive a certificate of title at the time of purchase. This bill would also require dealers of off-road vehicles to obtain a master dealer license and would authorize the dealer to issue certificates of title for off-road vehicles. HB 233 was reported out of the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. HB 233 is opposed as written by the Federation, but work is being done to address the concerns for agriculture.

Animal Disposal - SB 202 by Sen. Josh Carnley, R-Ino, would allow for the disposal of dead animals in accordance with rules adopted by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. Under existing law, animals that are killed or otherwise die must be burned or buried within 24 hours of death. This bill is on the Senate Ag, Conservation & Forestry Committee's agenda for March 20. A companion bill, HB 297 by Rep. Matthew Hammett, R-Dozier, will be heard by the House Ag and Forestry Committee Wednesday.

Bovine Activity Liability - SB 164 by Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, would provide limitations of liability for certain actions taken by bovines and their owners. This bill is on the agenda for the Senate Ag, Conservation and Forestry Committee meeting Wednesday.

Upcoming Events:

  • March 19: FFA Day on the Hill
  • March 25-29: Legislative Spring Break

The Legislature will reconvene on Tuesday, March 19, for day 16 of a possible 30 days. 

The House will convene at 1 p.m. while the Senate will convene at 2 p.m.

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Capitol Connection | Alabama Farmers Federation | (334) 288-3900 |


 Brian Hardin - Director, External Affairs Department

 Preston Roberts - Director, Agricultural Legislation

Russ Durrance - Director, State Legislative Programs

John Allen Nichols - Agriculture Counsel

Beth Chapman - Beth Chapman and Associates, LLC

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