Alabama Supreme Court cases have strictly defined what forms of gaming are legal in Alabama, specifically developing a six-point test for categorizing bingo. Although stringently defined, the possibility of gaming facilities reopening and operating still exists. In order to effectively deter would-be offenders, the punishment for owning and operating illegal gaming paraphernalia should be raised from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony.


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When the government tells us no

Sometimes the government tells us no. I’m not allowed to sit in the Oval Office and watch President Trump mull over Fox and Friends, ready to Tweet at a moment’s notice. I (begrudgingly) accept that. I also can’t read classified intelligence briefings or call a special session of the Alabama legislature. I could ask, but […]

A Guide to Fake News

More than once every day. That’s how often President Trump publicly calls something “fake”—be it a story, poll, or news organization. Just this week, Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about, among other things, the proliferation of falsities on his social media platform, including in Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate last year. We see the […]

Taylor’s Top Eight: End-of-Session Edition

It’s been just over a week since the 2018 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature came to an end. After marinating on this year’s 26 legislative days, here are my takeaways in the final legislative review for 2018. There were a few pieces of legislation for which our legislators deserve a round of applause. 1. […]

MORE ON Civil and Criminal Justice

Civil Asset Forfeiture “Has Created Serious Problems”

By Jason Snead, Policy Analyst in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation This week I had the privilege of meeting with some of Alabama’s leading lawmakers and policy experts to discuss an issue of urgent importance: protecting the property and due process rights of Alabamians by reforming […]

Juvenile Justice: A Broken System with Harmful Effects on Alabama’s Youth

A fourteen year old shoplifts cologne from a local Macy’s with hopes to impress his crush. Lacking the skills of an experienced criminal, he gets caught easily. Although perhaps warranting a fine and community service, he is instead processed as a criminal defendant and placed in a juvenile detention center. Here, he crosses paths daily […]

Here in Alabama, the government can legally take your stuff (AND NOT GIVE IT BACK)

Along Highway 31 in Conecuh County, Alabama, lies a small town called Castleberry. Although the city boasts a population of less than 600 and a single caution light, it has its own police department. To fund itself, the Castleberry Police Department takes advantage of speeding passers-by and writes them tickets. Nothing to see here. In […]

MORE ON Family

Alabama can do more for its military families

According to a recent survey, a majority of military family members do not feel that they belong in their local civilian communities. This means that less than half of military families that live in our neighborhoods, shop at our malls, and attend our places of worship feel at home with us. Why is this the […]

Using our tax breaks and bonuses for things that matter

“Crumbs”. That’s how House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi characterized the thousand-dollar bonuses and wage increases that companies are offering employees in the wake of federal tax reform. This description has, appropriately, come under attack. Walmart, Alabama’s largest employer, is spending around $400 million on employee bonuses. In fact, according to Americans for Tax Reform, over […]

Pro-Life Values Should Go Beyond the Ballot Box

By Brooke Bacak Voters in Alabama have great concern for the unborn. After Tuesday’s special election, many feel anguish over the loss of a reliably pro-life Senate seat, which could affect federal judicial appointments over the next several years. Without judges who respect the right of states to regulate abortion, pro-life voters feel especially helpless […]

MORE ON Good Governance

Increased Polarization in Politics: Bad for Alabama and the country

Our politics is increasingly polarized. Yelling matches on cable news are the norm, and those with opposite viewpoints are labeled as bigoted or anti-American. The division has gotten to the point that, according to the Pew Research Center, most Republicans and Democrats have few or no friends in the opposing party. The question, therefore, is […]

What do you want to hear from your candidates?

Most of the talk I’ve heard this legislative session has been preceded with “well, you know it’s an election year. . .” as if to indicate that we shouldn’t expect too much from our lawmakers in 2018. Rather, our expectations for our elected officials in 2018 should be just as high as usual, if not […]

It’s Time for New Year’s Resolutions

Ah, January, the make-or-break month for New Year’s resolutions. Don’t you think that our elected officials—members of the legislature, state school board, executive branch, and others—should adopt some resolutions? I’ve got a few ideas for them.       1. Commit to protecting taxpayers. Want to raise taxes? Meet them with an offset elsewhere. Want […]

MORE ON Lottery and Gambling

If the People Only Knew

“The people want to vote!”—the most oft-repeated catchphrase of the lottery debate. Even politicians who declare themselves personally opposed to a state-run lottery try to justify their support of it because “the people want to vote.” But politicians know full well that they have not been honest with the people when it comes to a […]

Looking at the Lottery Math

“Which is the most immoral,” Governor Robert Bentley mused philosophically to the press last week, “buying five lottery tickets with money you earned or allowing a child to die?” A state lottery in Alabama is “the only real choice,” he warned ominously. “There is no plan B.” Governor Bentley was making an extremely serious argument, to […]

Republicans’ Proposal a Bad Move for Alabama

We have known for months that a deal was in the works to expand gambling operations in Alabama either through a lottery, a tribal compact, or privately run casinos. This move under Republican leadership is disheartening, but not surprising. Any chance at a money grab, be it through tax increases or gambling, is far easier […]

MORE FROM The Alabama Policy Institute

Our Evaluation of Michael Sentance

The Alabama State Board of Education will meet tomorrow in Montgomery for a special meeting abruptly called last week. The stated purpose is to evaluate Superintendent Michael Sentance. The rumored purpose is to fire him. We trust that the latter is just that—a rumor—as there is absolutely no justification for firing Mr. Sentance. Indeed, allow […]

API Joins National Coalition of Education Choice Advocates and Releases Letter Applauding Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Letter Encourages Trump Administration to Champion Constitutionally Focused Education Choice Agenda Yesterday, Alabama Policy Institute (API) joined 12 other leading state and national organizations in sending a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos praising her outspoken commitment to parental choice in education. The letter outlines the importance of state-led efforts on education choice, emphasizing […]

Statement on the Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act

The Alabama Pro-Life Coalition (APLC) commends Governor Kay Ivey for signing the Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act into law on May 3, 2017. By her signature, the rights of religion based adoption agencies are protected. APLC also commends the sponsors of the legislation, Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) and Representative Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa). Their understanding, […]