Board selects Dr. Corey Jones for position of school superintendent

Dr. Corey Jones

Dr. Corey Jones of Newbern, AL was unanimously selected as superintendent for the Greene County School System at a called meeting of the board, Thursday, May 9, 2019. Dr. Jones will officially assume his duties in Greene County on July 1, 2019, however, he has expressed an interest in setting up a transition initiative with outgoing school superintendent, Dr. James H. Carter, Sr.
The board’s decision followed several days of intense interviews of the finalist candidates. The system’s superintendent search process involved the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) vetting 24 applicants and presenting six finalists to the board for interviews and final selection. Five of the finalists completed the interview process.
Dr. Jones is currently a school administrator with the Perry County School System, where he has been employed since 1994, first as a Biology teacher for nine years, then as a Central Office Administrator in various roles including Assessment/Accountability Coordinator, Special Education Director, Capital Planner, Secondary Curriculum Coordinator, At Risk Coordinator, 504 Coordinator and other related duties.
In sharing his educational philosophy with the board, Dr. Jones emphasized school safety as a priority. “It is my educational philosophy that a student must feel safe in order for learning to take place. This can be accomplished by assuring that the district has clear policies and procedures focused on school safety and ensuring that these are implemented and followed with fidelity,” Jones explained.
He stated that another priority for student achievement is engagement of students, teachers, parents and community stakeholders. “Student engagement is essential to learning taking place in all successful school systems, and student engagement starts with good teaching. Attracting highly qualified and dedicated teachers and staff and providing them high quality professional development is essential to the engagement. In addition, parents, community and other stakeholders must be continuously engaged for a school system to be successful,” Jones explained.
Dr. Jones said that he is deeply committed to utilizing the system’s data. “In my initial assessment, I would go deep into the data for the last five years, working with principals and teachers as we analyze where the system is. Students must also have access to their data. This is important for them to have a buy-in in the school’s achievement plan,” he said.
Dr. Jones received his Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Biology from Troy University and his Ed.D. in Education, Leadership, Policy and Law from Alabama State University.

SOS holds rally at State House to support Medicaid Expansion

The Save Ourselves Coalition for Justice and Democracy held a rally on May 14, 2019 at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Alabama to urge the Legislature to approve Medicaid Expansion for 300,000 working poor people in the state who are currently uninsured, The group said they would return each week until the Governor and State Legislature approves Medicaid Expansion.

Greene County Commission approves County Engineer and Highway Department requests

Most of Monday May 13, 2019 regular monthly meeting was devoted to approving requests from County Engineer Willie Branch for actions to improve facilities, services and equipment of the Highway Department.
The Commission approved replacement of a bridge over McConnico Creek on Highway 69 in District 4. “This will initiate the process to replace the bridge which involves seeking state and Federal resources and regulatory approvals,” said Branch.
The Commission approved purchase of a rooftop air conditioner for $15,980 for the William M. Branch Courthouse. They also approved contracting with Eric Paulding to do repairs and maintenance to the Courthouse building.
The Commission, at the request of the County Engineer, also approved purchase of 100 new garbage cans at a cost of $6,160. These garbage cans will be available under procedures implemented by the County Engineer. A new garbage can will require payment of a $15 issuance fee, plus $61.60 per can.
In addition, residents will pay $13.00 annually for a validation sticker on their garbage cart. This is an increase from the current fee of $3.00. There is also a monthly charge for garbage collection of $17.90, which can be reduced for those on a fixed income.
The Commission approved selling three dump trucks to JM Woods who will provide new replacements. The Commission also agreed to declare other items surplus to be sold on the Govdeals website.
The Highway Department was also approved to rent a Motor Grader and Gradall for road and ditch maintenance; the hiring of temporary workers for the summer; and travel for the Engineer and Assistant Engineer to attend an ‘Ethics for Public Officials and Employees’ seminar in Prattville on June 12 and 13.

In other business:
• the Commission received a financial report and approved payment of claims;
• submitted three names for appointment to the County Board of Equalization, including incumbent members Edna Chambers and Alfredda Crawford;
• approved allowing the Board of Education to use the Miles College grounds for an End of Year Parents Celebration on May 31, 2019;
• approved resolution for payment of the Coroner;
• approved employment of a Clerk for the Probate Office; and advertsing for a van driver for the Eutaw Nutrition Center.

Newswire: African National Congress wins South African elections by lower margin of 57.5% of vote

EFF opposition party poster

May 13, 2019 (GIN) – Frustrated with the failures of the ruling African National Congress, South Africans gave the ANC its lowest turnout since 2004 when it took a record 69% of the vote.

The ANC won a sixth straight term but with the worst ever electoral showing for the iconic party.

Voter turnout was low. Thousands of youth did not even bother to register.

After announcing the elections to be free and fair, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the party faithful: “Our people have spoken and spoken emphatically. They have voted for a more equal society, free from poverty, hunger and want.”

He vowed to purge his party of “bad and deviant tendencies” as he prepares to appoint a new cabinet that will not work merely to fill their own pockets.

The party always knew this would be a tough election. Ramaphosa is leading a divided party, criticized for its slowness in delivering basic services

Ramaphosa is also believed to be facing a revolt within the party by Zuma allies, one that could surface in the coming weeks as he decides on the makeup of his new government.

Observers have said South Africa’s economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa, would be further weakened if Ramaphosa is removed by his own party. He narrowly won the party leadership in late 2017, weeks before Zuma was pushed out.

Ramaphosa urged ANC leaders not to hang the party’s “dirty linen in public” and said the party must be renewed “so that we cleanse it of all the bad and deviant tendencies.”

Meanwhile, at least one political grouping was celebrating this week. South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) thanked voters for giving them more seats in the next National Assembly.

In its second presidential and parliamentary election, the party grossed 10.7% of the vote, up from 6.3% five years ago.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi offered “deep and sincere gratitude” to the party’s supporters. “In each of the 9 provinces more people believe in the EFF than they did in 2016 and 2014. It is a sign that our revolution is on course and soon it shall be realized and accomplished,” he said.

The ruling ANC despite winning the polls, slipped to holding 230 parliament seats, while the main opposition Democratic Alliance now holds 84, the EFF’s 44 means they maintain their spot as the second main opposition party.

Newswire: Facebook bans Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam

By Frederick H. Lowe

Minister Louis Farrakhan
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Facebook and Instagram have banned Minister Louis Farrakhan, the highly regarded leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam, after lumping him together with paranoid White right-wing nuts who spew racial hatred and conspiracy theories.
Facebook announced May 2 that it banned Minister Farrakhan who has been criticized for his anti-Semitic remarks, although members of Jewish groups sometimes appear on the Nation of Islam’s television show that is broadcast from Chicago.
“We always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson told Variety, a publication that covers the entertainment industry. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and that’s what led to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which is based in Montgomery, Ala., also has long listed the Nation of Islam as a hate group.
Any criticism of Jews is considered hate speech by members of the White-owned media, which knows little about Minister Farrakhan. They know so little that on Thursday, May 2, CBS called Farrakhan the founder of the Nation of Islam. Master W. Fard Muhammad of Detroit founded the organization on July 4, 1930 in Detroit. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Fard Muhammad’s successor, moved the Nation of Islam to Chicago.
The White House and Jewish groups have severely criticized Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her comments, yet recent deadly attacks of Jewish synagogues have been carried out by White men who have self-identified as White supremacists.
Minister Farrakhan has battled African-Americans whom he charged are agents of Jewish groups, working against the interest of African-Americans.
In March 2018, The Nation of Islam published an open letter to Gregory Meeks, Danny K. Davis and Barbara Lee, all members of the Congressional Black Caucus, because of their criticism of Minister Farrakhan’s 2018 Founders Day speech.
He accused the three of acting at the behest of the Republican Jewish Coalition, the anti-Defamation League and others who represent White supremacy and want to destroy the Black community.
Black men highly regard minister Farrakhan for many reasons, one of which is that The Nation works with recently released black-male prison inmates, helping them to re-enter the community after incarceration.
Also, The Nation urges Black men to live better lives to improve their communities. Although not every Black man belongs to The Nation of Islam, they are continually under assault by police and followed in stores by security guards—some of whom are Black women—who immediately regard them as criminals.
As a result, Black men suffer from high rates of high blood pressure which can lead to stroke, a blockage of blood to the brain that killed filmmaker John Singleton.
The Nation of Islam also urges Black people to become self-sufficient and support each other instead of giving our money away to Whites and others.
Even in a booming economy, the jobless rate for Black men 20 and over was 6.8 percent in April, much higher when compared with other racial and ethnic groups. These are some of the reasons that The Nation of Islam has a strong yet silent following.
Books published by the Nation of Islam are sometimes available for sale in large Black Christian
churches. Facebook confused Minister Farrakhan with the likes of Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist, and Paul Joseph Watson, editor of Infowars.

Newswire: Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives receives prestigious James Beard Leadership Award for his work with Black farmers and cooperatives

Cornelius Blanding

East Point, GA (May 13, 2019)- Cornelius Blanding was honored at the 9th annual Leadership Awards ceremony and dinner in Chicago on Sunday, May 5, 2019 along with three other leadership honorees. The Leadership Awards are part of the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs, which works to establish a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership. Referred to as the Oscars of the food world, the prestigious award will hopefully shed light on the plight of black farmers, landowners and cooperatives in the South as well as provide new opportunities for partnerships throughout the food system.

Blanding has been the Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, since 2015. The Federation is a non-profit, cooperative association involving over 20,000 low-income rural families organized into more than 75 cooperatives, credit unions, and community-based economic development groups across the rural South. It is chartered to work in 13 southern states in some of the most economically depressed communities in the Black Belt Region.

Long before transitioning to the director, he served in many capacities within the Federation for 18 years providing education, technical assistance to farmers and developing agricultural cooperatives. For 23 years, he’s been an energetic advocate for Black land loss prevention, economic advancement for rural farmers through cooperative development, and policies that support farmers. According to Blanding, “Cooperatives are still being formed out of necessity to combat issues that are relevant to today’s economic, social, and political landscape. Access to credit and markets, food security, land preservation, and climate change are all issues directly impacting the longevity of southern black farm families.”

Under Blanding’s leadership, the Federation is focused on cooperative development, land retention, and advocacy in the US and around the world. In Cuba, his leadership led to creating an open market for Federation farmers to grow and export black beans to meet the diet demands of Cubans. In the United States Virgin Islands, he assisted small farmers in creating the first farm cooperative to help increase food production to reduce and address the exponential rates of food imports promoting greater food sovereignty.

The other 2019 honorees also included: The Pioneer Valley Workers Center Women’s Collective; Leah Penniman, Co-Executive Director & Program Manager, Soul Fire Farm; Sean Sherman, Founder & CEO, The Sioux Chef; and Anim Steel, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Real Food Generation. This 2019 group was recognized for showing emerging promise or specific outstanding initiatives, as well as for bodies of work or lifetime achievement, excellence of work, innovation of approach, and scale of impact within a community or the nation were among the criteria used to choose this year’s honorees, selected by ballots submitted by past

More information is available at the Federation’s website: www.federation.coop.

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, entering its 52thyear, assists limited resource farmers, landowners, and cooperatives across the South with business planning, debt restructuring, marketing expertise, and a whole range of other services to ensure the retention of land ownership and cooperatives as a tool for social and economic justice. The overall mission is to reverse the trend of black land loss and be a catalyst for the development of self supporting communities via cooperative economic development, land retention and

Newswire : Sewell speaks out against voter suppression at Birmingham field hearing

Cong. Terri Sewell

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The House Administration Subcommittee on Elections held a field hearing Monday to examine voting rights and elections systems in Alabama.

The hearing is one in a series the House committee is holding around the country to create a public record of voter suppression and the need for federal pre-clearance enforcement. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) who introduced legislation earlier this year to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by developing a modern-day formula to determine which states must pre-clear election changes with the Department of Justice, spoke at length about the impact of the 2013 Supreme Court Shelby County v. Holder decision on voting rights in America.

“We need federal oversight in the state of Alabama,” Sewell said. “You learned today that Alabama has a more restrictive voter ID law now than it did before the Shelby v. Holder case. You learned today that the problem disproportionately affects minorities, rural communities, the elderly and the disabled. … the cost of freedom, we know, is never free. It is paid by those who have fought for this right that we have and for us to sit where we sit in Congress to do the right thing.”

“Alabama has closed polling places, enacted a strict voter ID law, been slow to restore the rights of previously incarcerated citizens, attempted to close DMV offices that issue the valid IDs in predominantly-minority areas and more,” said Elections Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11). “The greatest democracy in the world must not regress. We must recognize our faults and continue to move forward; we must progress.”

Video of Rep. Sewell’s closing statement is available on Congresswomen Tertri Sewell’s official website.

Newswire : Alabama passes bill banning abortion, to challenge Roe vs Wade

By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com

Alabama lawmakers aiming to challenge abortion rights nationally are one step from their goal of putting an almost total ban on the procedure into state law.
The Senate tonight voted 25-6 to pass a bill to make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. The bill is a priority for the Legislature’s Republican majority. Tonight’s vote sends it to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who could sign it into law.Lori Jhons, Ivey’s deputy press secretary, said in an email tonight that Ivey would not comment on the bill until she’s had a chance to thoroughly review it.
The bill passed exactly as it was introduced by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, about six weeks ago. It includes only one exception — to allow abortions in cases of a serious health risk to the woman. The goal is to trigger a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade.
“I would say that we’re all very pleased to have this done,” Collins said at a press conference after the vote. “We’re excited about the possibilities that it could mean. It’s been difficult at times, and then at times it’s been really good. I felt really good about it all the way through.”
Under the bill, a woman receiving an abortion would not be criminally liable. The doctor would be charged with a Class A felony, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison.
The bill passed the Senate on party lines after four and a half hours of debate, with all the Republicans who were present voting for it. No Democrats voted for the bill.
With Republicans holding 27 of 35 Senate seats, passage of the bill was not in doubt. A key question was whether the Senate would add an amendment to allow abortions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, who handled the bill in the Senate, urged his colleagues to reject the amendment, saying that all unborn children deserve protection.
Four Republicans sided with the Democrats in voting for the rape and incest exception, but it failed 21-11.
Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, who proposed the rape and incest amendment, said it was disgraceful to leave out the exception.
“You just raped every woman who’s been raped by a man,” Singleton said, his voice rising with emotion. “You just raped her all over again.”
Singleton said three rape victims were in the Senate gallery as his guests and talked about the hardships they went through.
“This is just a shame, this is a disgrace, this is a travesty,” he said.
Collins said her goal was to pass the bill in a form she thought would serve as the strongest challenge to Roe v. Wade. She said states could later decide what exceptions to allow if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. She said she would support a rape and incest exception if that happens.
“I’ve answered many emails from people who have poured out their hearts with real stories that were true,” Collins said. “My goal with this bill is not to hurt them in any way. My goal with this bill, and I think all of our goal, is to have Roe vs. Wade turned over, and that decision be sent back to the states so that we can come up with our laws that address and include amendments and things that address those issues.”

Democratic Senators question why ‘Medicaid Expansion’not included

There are only four women in the 35-member Senate, and two of them were among the most outspoken opponents of the bill on Tuesday.
Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, proposed an amendment that would have required the state to provide prenatal care and medical care for the mother and the child in cases when a woman is denied an abortion because of the law. Democrats said a lack of support from Republicans on issues that can help low-income families, like Medicaid expansion, undermines their argument about protecting unborn children.
“The sin to me is bringing a child into this world and not taking care of them,” Coleman-Madison said. “The sin for me is that this state does not provide adequate care. We don’t provide education. And then when the child is born and we know that mother is indigent and she cannot take care of that child, we don’t provide any support systems for that mother.”
Senators rejected her amendment 23-6.
Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, proposed three amendments — to require Medicaid expansion, to require legislators who voted for the bill to bear the legal costs of defending the law in court, and to make it a felony for a man to get a vasectomy. All were voted down.

Figures questioned Chambliss about the opposition to the rape and incest exception and its effect on victims of those acts.
“To take that choice away from that person who had such a traumatic act committed against them, to be left with the residue of that person, if you will,” Figures said. “To have to bring that child into this world and be reminded of that every single day. Some people can do that. Some people can. But some can’t. But why would you not want a woman to at least have that exception for such a horrific act?”
Chambliss said, “Because I believe that when that unborn child becomes a person that we need legal guidance on when that is.”
“But that is not your business,” Figures said. “You don’t have to raise that child. You don’t have to carry that child. You don’t have to provide for that child. You don’t have to do anything for that child. You want to make that decision for that woman that that’s what she has to do.”
“I want to make the decision for that child,” Chambliss said.
About an hour after Republican senators voted down the rape and incest amendment, they voted to cut off the debate and force a vote on the bill.
Chambliss, asked about the legal costs the state would incur if the bill becomes law and is challenged in court, as the sponsors intend, said it would be money well spent.

School Board approves multiple personnel non-renewals

The Greene County Board of Education held its regular meeting Monday, May 6, 2019 to consider and non-renewed multiple personnel. These involved non-tenured positions and supplemental contracts. This is a usual end-of-school-year task of the superintendent and school board which provides time to review and assess the personnel needs of the coming school year. It is likely that many of the non-renewed teaching and support personnel will be re-called, as well as supplemental contracts for the various athletic positions before the opening of the new school year.
The Personnel Non-Renewals for additional service contracts, 2018-2019, at Greene County High School included the following: Rodney Wesley, Head Basketball Coach; Fentress Means, Assistant Basketball Coach; Drenda Morton, Head Cheerleader Sponsor; Danielle Sanders, Head Girls Basketball Coach; Brittany January, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach; Karon Coleman, Head Football Coach; Justin Booth, Assistant Football Coach/Head Baseball Coach; Russell Rivers, Assistant Football Coach; Janice Jeames, Head Girls Softball Coach.
The board approved the following Personnel Non-Renewals, separate contracts 2018-2019, at Robert Brown Middle School: Corey Cockrell, Head Football Coach; Henry Miles Jr., Assistant Football Coach; Janice Jeames, Volleyball Coach; Jeffery Wesley, Head Basketball Coach; Corey Cockrell, Assistant Basketball Coach; Fredrick Square, Safety Coordinator.
The board approved the following Personnel Non-Renewal, separate contracts 2018-2019, at Central Office: Charlayne Jordan; Sharon Washington; Alfonzo Noland; Angelia Hood; Shayla McCray.
The board approved for non-renewal, 2018-2019, Toice Goodson as Athletic Director Greene County School System.

The board approved the following Personnel Non-Renewals at Eutaw Primary School: Katrina Sprinkle, Pre-K Teacher; Lurena Smith, Kindergarten Teacher; Shondra Toney, Kindergarten Teacher; Katlin Whittle,Visual Art Teacher.
The board approved the following Personnel Non-Renewals at Robert Brown Middle School: Tyreice Mack, 4th Grade Teacher; Jacqueline Carter, 4th Grade Teacher; Sontona Miles, 6th Grade Teacher; Alicia Ward, 6th Grade Teacher; Ashley Moody, 7th Grade Teacher; Kotoya Quarrels, 7th Grade Math Teacher; Demelia Snyder, 7th Grade Science Teacher; Brittany January, 8th Grade Math Teacher; Justin Booth, Agro-Science, Teacher; Neshambia Sewell, STEM Teacher; Angel Moore, Special Services Teacher; Katlin Whittle, Visual Arts Teacher; Bria Tyner, Fine Arts/Dance Teacher; Jacqueline Edwards, Part-Time Custodian; Twelia Morris, Part-time Secretary; Fredrick Square, Assistant Principal.
The board approved the following Personnel Non-Renewals at Greene County High School: Chereme Gaines, Science Teacher; Justin Booth, Physical Education & Agro-Science Teacher; Bria Tyner, Fine Arts/Dance, Teacher; Karon Coleman, ISS Instructor, Teacher; Nashambia Sewell, STEM Teacher; Ann Spree, Math Tutor, Teacher; Jocephus Patrick, Alternative School Teacher.
The board approved the following Personnel Non-Renewals at Greene County Career Center: Twelia Morris, Part-time Secretary; Russell Rivers, Automotive Teacher.
The board approved the non-renewal of contracted personnel, Cynthia Crawford, Technical Support Greene County School System.
The board approved the re-assignment of Mr. Garry Rice (Robert Brown Middle School).
The board approved the following Administrative Service items: 21st Century Summer Enrichment Program, May 28 – July 3, 2019; Summer School for Greene County High School beginning June 3, 2019 – June 27, 2019; Summer Feeding at the following sites: Eutaw Primary School, 6-weeks; Robert Brown Middle School, 6-weeks; Greene County High School, 4-weeks; Request that all expired and outdated technology devices, be surplussed and properly dispositioned and/or sold in accordance to Greene County Board of Education Policy;Approved sale of Land at Mt. Hebron Pre School to SCORE; Approved request to amend the Fiscal Year 2019 budget; Approved payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
The board approved the following Instructional Services: Implement ACT Prep Course for 2019-2020 school year for Greene County High School, Grades 9-12; Rational: Improve individual skill area that need to improve; Students with learn in ways that improve skill mastery; Students will receive the tutoring that is needed to enhance individual ACT test scores.

Alabama Legislature considers Lottery and Bingo bills that impact Greene County

News Analysis by John Zippert, Co-Publisher

The Alabama Legislature is considering several bills concerning a statewide lottery and changes to Constitutional Amendment 743, allowing charity bingo in Greene County, which may affect the future of gaming and the distribution of revenues from electronic bingo in the county.
Initially there were two lottery bills before the Alabama State Senate Tourism Committee to allow for a statewide lottery and multi-state games like Powerball and Mega Millions.
SB 220 sponsored by Senators Albritton, Glover and Hightower provides for a paper lottery, similar to that in neighboring states, with the proceeds going primarily to the state’s General Fund, after paying for $180 million in loans from the Education Trust Fund, borrowed over the past three fiscal years to balance the state budget.
SB 130 sponsored by Senators McClendon, Singleton and others provided for a statewide paper lottery and “virtual lottery terminals” at designated places in Mobile, Macon, Jefferson, Greene and Lowndes counties, that previously were licensed for pari-mutuel betting on dogs and horses. This lottery bill would have generated more revenues for the state and local entities.
In Greene County, the McClendon and Singleton lottery bill would only allow “virtual lottery terminals” at Greenetrack. The bill also provided for the virtual lottery terminals to replace bingo terminals over a one-year period. There was no mention of the future of the other bingo operations in Greene County.
SB 220 (Albritton’s bill) for a basic paper lottery was approved by the Senate Tourism Committee and by the full Senate in a vote of 21 to 12. As a Constitutional Amendment it required a super majority, 60% vote, which it did achieve.
Senator Singleton’s bill providing for “virtual lottery terminals” was not considered by the Senate Tourism Committee. Senator Singleton tried to amend the Albritton bill on the floor of the Alabama Senate but he was unsuccessful.
Senator Linda Coleman-Madison amended the bill with language that the bill would not affect counties, like Greene, that had Constitutional Amendments prior to 2005 permitting charitable bingo. “ I was trying to make sure that this lottery bill did not interfere with bingo, in places like Greene County, that had established Constitutional Amendments permitting bingo,” said Senator Coleman-Madison.
The Albritton Lottery bill is now in the Alabama House Tourism Committee awaiting a vote. It will have to be approved by 63 Representatives, a 60% super majority to move forward. You can also expect efforts to add “virtual lottery terminals” in the House to the bill. Some House members have raised the concern that the revenues generated by the lottery do not go to support the Education Trust Fund.
If the lottery bill passes both houses of the Legislature and is signed by the Governor, it will face a statewide referendum on the March 3, 2019 Presidential Primary ballot before it becomes part of the State Constitution and tickets can be sold.

Singleton’s Bill to change Amendment 743

Senator Bobby Singleton in the wake of failing to add “virtual lottery terminals” to the Lottery bill was able to pass SB321 which repeals and replaces Greene County’s Bingo Constitutional Amendment No. 743. Singleton’s bill is in the House Tourism Committee awaiting a vote. If this bill passes the House, it will require a referendum by the people in Greene County before it takes the place of the current amendment.
Singleton’s proposal would substitute a five member Greene County Gaming Commission to “regulate and supervise the operation and conduct of bingo games” for the role of the Sheriff of Greene County, who administers bingo under the current Constitutional Amendment 743. The five members of the Gaming Commission would be chosen by the area’s legislative delegation including State Senator Singleton and Representatives A. J. McCampbell and Ralph Howard.
Singleton’s proposal would levy a 2% tax on the gross receipts of bingo to go to the State of Alabama and a 10% local tax on the gross receipts to go to the Gaming Commission, Greene County Commission and municipalities. A portion of the tax is also allocated to the Greene County Board of Education (2%); Greene County Firefighters Association (1/2 %); Greene County Hospital (1%); E-911 (1/2%); Greene County Industrial Board (1/4%); Greene County Ambulance Service (1/4%); Greene County Housing Authority (3/4%); and the remaining (3/4%) to non-profit agencies in the county.
These taxes on the gross revenues, which are defined as the total wagered minus prizes and promotions, would take the place of the current $225 fee per machine, per month, paid to the Sheriff and on to the county agencies and charitable organizations.

To measure the impact of these changes, you have to estimate the current gross revenues of bingo in Greene County, which is a figure that has never been revealed by the bingo operators.
Since Senator Singleton has been heavily influenced by Greenetrack and its CEO, Luther ‘Nat’ Winn, other bingo operators feel this amendment changes the whole structure of charitable bingo in the county and does not guarantee that the new Gaming Commission would recognize current licensees. There is no mention of “grand-fathering-in” any of the existing bingo operations under this new amendment.
A Letter to the Editor from Billy McFarland, connected with the TS Police Support League, a charity connected to the Palace Bingo operation is included in this week’s paper, which is critical of Singleton’s proposed new bingo amendment.
The Democrat invites our readers and others to comment on these developments affecting electronic bingo in the county so we can evaluate the proposals and make the best, most informed and democratic choices about bingo in Greene County going forward.