If at first, you do not succeed, try, try again.

We are all familiar with that bit of advice.

Often trying and trying again does not result in anything except a headache for yourself. And loads of frustration.

That is the case for Alabama voters who just want a chance to vote on a state lottery.

In 2016, the Senate passed a lottery bill during a special session called by then Governor Robert Bentley. Opponents of the lottery used a procedural rule to block a committee from considering the bill, effectively killing it.

In 2019, the Senate passed a bill that would give voters an opportunity to vote on it during the 2020 presidential election. The bill failed a procedural motion by a single vote.

The most recent lottery bill proposed last week would have brought both casinos and a lottery to Alabama. The bill was two votes short of the number needed to pass.

One senator who had previously said he would support the bill changed his mind due to “peer pressure” from his constituents. Another said he voted against it because he did not think Alabamians were ready for casino gambling yet.

You must wonder if he found that out through a medium or if he just has a crystal ball that he looks through.

For two decades now, every time Alabamians think they will get the opportunity to decide for themselves if they want a lottery or casinos or anything else, the legislature finds a way to end the discussion.

No one is asking them to compromise their principles or endorse the action, only to allow Alabama voters to let their voices be heard.

By consistently preventing voters from being given a choice, they are imposing their will on Alabama voters. That is not how it is supposed to work.

I realize that a real debate on the subject would have required time and reasonable discussion, but lawmakers were so busy with other legislation they quickly put that little lottery choice thing to bed once again.

Here are just a few of the more important pieces of legislation that required their attention instead of discussions about the people’s right to choose.

HB235 would permit a pet dog in an outdoor dining area.

HB131 would prohibit performing a medical procedure on a minor child that is intended to alter their gender.

HB246 would authorize local boards of education to offer yoga to students in grades K-12.

SB 126 would provide delivery services a license that would allow the delivery of sealed beer and wine directly to individuals.

And let us not forget the most important item yet. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would designate the sweet potato as the official state vegetable of Alabama.

So, you can have all the alcohol you want delivered to your house, but you will not get the opportunity to use your money to buy those sinful lottery tickets here in Alabama.

Never doubt that irony is alive and well in Montgomery.

Some state representatives want to rein in the power of the governor and state health officers to issue executive orders.  You know, like the one she issued for us all to wear masks. Their bill would give the legislature the authority to extend public health emergencies instead of the governor.

The same people who think wearing a mask should be a personal choice do not believe Alabama voters should have the choice to vote on whether they want a lottery.

So, in other words, they are looking out for us Alabamians who might blow our grocery money on lottery tickets but on a positive note, we can die from the virus if we want.

I lived in South Carolina for almost twenty years. They have an education lottery, and no one was forced to buy one. It may not be what Alabama voters want but they should be allowed to vote on it.

State Senator Jim McClendon of Springville has filed what he is calling a ‘clean’ lottery bill. It would only create a state lottery and not offer casinos or gambling of any kind. The proceeds would be split equally between the state’s general fund and the educational budget.

Currently 44 states offer some form of a lottery. It is not like we are re-engineering the wheel.

Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement after the latest vote saying she remains “committed to giving the people of Alabama the final say.”

We can only hope she gets her way before they shut her down.

A survey conducted in 2020 showed that 80 percent of Alabama voters support establishing a state lottery.

It is time our representatives in Montgomery were reminded who they work for.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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