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August 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

So far, this month has been marked by new people in new positions and the announcement of the governor’s lottery plan. Stay tuned to Group Watch for developing special session news later this week.

Governor Releases Proposed Alabama Lottery
Governor Bentley unveiled a constitutional amendment that would allow voters in November to decide whether Alabama should have a state lottery. The amendment would provide a seven-member lottery commission, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, to oversee the Alabama Lottery. All proceeds from the lottery would go to the General Fund budget, which for years has grappled with rising expenses and flat revenues. Legislators would have to pass the amendment by August 24 to get it on the November ballot, where voters would decide whether or not to approve it. Under the proposed amendment, the Legislature would work out enabling legislation in a later session.

Alabama Republicans Pick Mac McCutcheon as New House Speaker
The 70-member House Republican Caucus voted unanimously to support Representative Mac McCutcheon as the new House Speaker. Their endorsement is tantamount to election with Democrats having only 33 votes. McCutcheon has served in the House since 2006 representing parts of Madison and Limestone counties in north Alabama. He chaired the powerful Rule Committee the last six years, which sets the daily agenda of bills the House will consider. Mac is a retired Huntsville police officer, has worked as a farmer and as associate pastor at the College Park Church of God. He replaces Mike Hubbard who was convicted earlier this summer of 12 felony ethics violations and automatically removed from office.

State Board of Education Chooses New Superintendent
The State Board of Education chose education consultant and former Secretary of Education for Massachusetts Michael Sentence as the new Superintendent of Education. He was chosen out of a field of six finalists, including Stanford University research fellow Williamson Evers; Madison school superintendent Dee Fowler; Jefferson County superintendent Craig Pouncey; Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Jenna Ross; and Florence city school superintendent Janet Womack.

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