Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, on Wednesday called for a lottery amendment to be included on the December ballot.
“We’ve been told that we will be called into a special session for the prison bond issue, and I want the governor to include the lottery,” said Ford.
Some legislators want a special session to address the overcrowding and poor conditions plaguing the prisons.
The prison population is currently 8,915 inmates over the prison system’s designed capacity of 13,318, according to an Alabama Department of Corrections report for April. The U.S. Department of Justice announced, in October, they were investigating the conditions in Alabama men’s prisons.
Eileen Jones, press secretary for Gov. Kay Ivey, said the governor has not made a decision and is waiting on a court decision on Alabama’s prisons from U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. The trial, which ended in February, was on the claims of inadequate care for mentally ill inmates.
If there is a call for a special session, she has not made up her mind what will be in the call, Jones said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said he has no problem with putting the lottery on the ballot for the people to decide.
Marsh introduced his own lottery bill in the 2015 legislative session, but the bill died in the Senate. Then-Gov. Robert Bentley in 2016 called for a special session to consider a lottery, but again no lottery proposal passed.
“I wouldn’t support a special session just for the lottery,” Marsh said. “It can be done in regular session if someone wants to push it.”
Ford said he has been a long time supporter of the lottery.
“We know what the lottery will bring into the state,” Ford said. “We could be sending our kids to get two-year degrees for free with the lottery. Let’s have a special session and keep politics out of it.”
The amendment would not appear on the August ballot. Ford said he wants the lottery to be on the Dec. 10 general election ballot. The last day for the Legislature to pass a lottery amendment to be on the ballot would be Oct. 11 according to Ed Packard, administrator of elections at the secretary of state’s office.
“People are tired of the Republican party in Alabama,” Ford said. “Are you better off than you were when they took over in 2010? I feel most people would say no.”