State lottery, guns, wireless data bills coming to state Legislature

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With the start of Alabama’s Legislative Session less than a week away, a slew of bills have been prefiled in the House of Representatives.

Alabama Rep. Craig Ford (D-Etowah) has prefiled House Bill 10, which would establish an Alabama lottery to fund scholarships, an Alabama Lottery Corp. “to implement and to regulate” a state lottery, and would prohibit the operation of casinos.

Proceeds from Ford’s lottery would go into a Lottery Trust Fund and be used to give scholarships to “qualifying students” to attend two- or four-year colleges within the state.

The bill specifies that qualified students are those “who are A/B Honor Roll students.”

Ford’s bill would also alter part of a constitutional amendment that prohibits the state Legislature to “authorize lotteries or gift enterprises for any purpose.”

Rep. Mack Butler (R-Etowah), along with a number of House colleagues, has proposed a constitutional amendment, HB12, to allow persons with a concealed pistol permit to carry weapons on the campuses of public and private universities within the state.

The bill also provides for universities to establish rules regarding the storage of such weapons in dormitories or other residential areas, the carrying of weapons on campus, and to prohibit carrying weapons in some cases, though complete prohibition would not be allowed.

The law further provides immunity to universities “for damages arising from action or inaction under the requirements of the amendment.”

Universities would be required to submit a report each year to the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate detailing a description of the rules regarding campus carry and the rationale behind such rules.

Butler noted than an additional bill, to be filed at the start of the session, will provide criminal penalties to universities that ban guns on campus.

“The people overwhelmingly are embracing it,” Butler said. “It’s becoming crystal clear that the targets are these gun-free zones.”

A bill prefiled by Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Scottsboro) and others, HB2, would require wireless service providers to turn over location information to law enforcement agents in “an emergency situation involving a risk of death or serious bodily harm.”

Also known as the Kelsey Smith Act, named for a woman killed in 2007 whose body was found after Verizon Wireless finally cooperated with law enforcement.

The bill goes on to say that “law enforcement may monitor from any location in this State location information obtained from a wireless communications provider or device from anywhere the device is located regardless of jurisdiction.”

Further, the bill states that “the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency shall obtain contact information from all wireless service providers authorized to do business in this state to facilitate a request from a law enforcement agency for call location information under this section. The bureau shall disseminate the contact information to each state and local law enforcement agency in this state.”

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