By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher
State Senator Bobby Singleton, who represents Greene County and other counties in the Alabama Black Belt, was appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate, as one of the eleven members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Gaming.
The Council created by the Governors Executive Order No. 24 will assess the current state and local laws on gambling, as well as the taxes generated therefrom, and will evaluate the best practices in other states, including the tax revenue structures and the enabling and implementing regulations and laws, as well as compare Alabama state laws to applicable federal gaming laws.
Singleton is one of two African Americans on the Advisory Council. The other is Curtis Stewart, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Revenue, one of five members appointed by the Governor. Singleton is one of seven current and former legislators on the Advisory Council.
The Council is to report its findings and recommendations by January 31, 2017 to the Governor, the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House.
In an interview with the Greene County Democrat, Singleton said, “ I am not overly optimistic but I am hopeful that this Advisory Council can develop a meaningful set of recommendations for gaming, including electronic bingo, gaming on Indian reservations, and a statewide lottery, for adoption by the state legislature.”
Singleton went on to say, “ There are opponents of any kind of gambling on the Council, and so we will need to educate them about the revenue implications of gaming. We plan to look at models from other states on revenues and their uses. We will also study compacts and relations with Indian gaming in other states and the Federal regulations affecting gaming.”
When asked if the Advisory Council will hold open hearings and solicit comments from the public, Singleton said that the final plans and schedule for the group were still being formulated and he will advise us of future meetings and opportunities for public input.
“I am looking forward to the recommendations presented by this 11 person Advisory Council,” Governor Bentley said. “In recent years, a considerable amount of time and resources have been spent debating gaming in Alabama; however I am hopeful this group will present some new ideas or solutions that can help resolve this ongoing dispute and provide a clear direction going forward.”
The Governor has selected Finance Director Clinton Carter as chairman of the Council. The appointments are as follows:
•Jim Byard, Jr., Director of Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
•Clinton Carter, Director of Finance Department
•Curtis Stewart, Deputy Commissioner of Alabama Department of Revenue
•Carrie McCollum, General Counsel for Alabama Credit Union Administration
•Connie Rowe, State Representative
Pro Tem’s appointments:
•Bobby Singleton, State Senator
•Greg Albritton, State Senator
•Jim Carns, State Representative
•Craig Ford, State Representative
District Attorneys Association:
•Barry Matson, Deputy Director
•Bobby Timmons, Executive Director
The Democrat plans to follow closely the work of this Governor’s Advisory Council on Gaming because of the implications for electronic bingo in Greene County.