The Alabama State Senate voted Tuesday by 19 to 13 to defeat Del Marsh’s Lottery and Gambling bill. The bill since it was a Constitutional Amendment required a 60% majority – 21 votes to pass. The bill fell two votes short on this attempt. Marsh’s bill included a statewide lottery and five casinos. The five were the Mobile Greyhound Track, Victoryland in Macon County, Birmingham Racecourse and Greenetrack; as well as a new site in northeast Alabama near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Marsh amended his bill to add a casino near Dothan in Houston County and Senator Bobby Singleton amended the bill on the floor to add and Whitehall Enterprises in Lowndes County. Two Black State Senators were out for sickness at yesterday’s session, Senator Malika Sanders Fortier of Selma and Senator Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer, who may have voted for the bill, especially after it was amended to include the Whitehall facility, which is in Lowndes County, in Fortier’s district. These two additional votes would have given the proposal the necessary 60% majority vote for passage. Another looming challenge facing gaming in Greene County comes from legal actions against “electronic bingo” by Steve Marshall, Alabama Attorney General, who feels that bingo machines are equivalent to illegal slot machines. The Attorney General’s efforts are backed by decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court which are unfavorable to electronic means of playing bingo. Marsh’s bill would have legalized gambling at only certain recognized places in the state and invalidated Marshall’s efforts.
By: Brendan O’Brien, Reuters
Nooses hanging from a tree on Tennessee campus
Police at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee have removed six rainbow colored nooses – widely seen as a symbol of racial hatred – hanging from a tree on campus, the school said.
Police on Monday took down the row of nooses found near the university fine arts building on the main campus in Clarksville, Tennessee, after receiving several complaints, the school said in a statement. “This incident is deeply disturbing and is hurtful to our university community,” said university president Alisa White. “I am saddened, and I am sorry for the hurt and offense this has caused.”
The intent of the display, especially in the multicolored style suggesting a link to the gay pride movement, was unclear.
The noose is a symbol of racial hatred in the United States, where thousands of blacks were lynched in a dozen states including Tennessee between 1877 and 1950, according to a 2015 Equal Justice Initiative report.
High-profile police killings of unarmed black men in the last two years have triggered waves of protest and heightened awareness of racism and discrimination in the United States.
Speculation on social media suggested the display might be a student art project meant as to highlight the struggles facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with suicide, given that the nooses were the same colors found in the LGBT rainbow flag.
“Suicides in the LGBT community is an epidemic,” one Facebook poster wrote. “You have the attention of the people, that is what art is about.”
In March, a former University of Mississippi student pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge, admitting to his role in draping a noose around the neck of a statue of the school’s first black student, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Another ex-student admitted to a similar charge last year and was sentenced to six months in prison for the 2014 incident.