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5/2/2011 - May 2011 SLI Newsletter

May 2011

 Dear Friends and Supporters,

             There are no legislative efforts to legalize gambling.  The criminal prosecution of gamblers and elected officials is proceeding with expected trials in June.  The latest news is that one of the primary figures in the gambling indictments, Country Crossing’s developer Ronnie Gilley, has pleaded guilty.  The expectation is that he will testify against gambling kingpin Milton McGregor and others. 

            At the same time, gambling establishments in Greene County and in Jefferson County have decided it is alright to reopen their establishments.  Like last year, they say their machines are legal.  Initially, we were skeptical they would be so bold.  However, it appears their boldness may be based on a perceived lack of action by law enforcement.  Historically, law enforcement in some of the counties where gambling enterprises existed were loath to enforce the law.  That was one of the primary reasons for Governor Riley’s Task Force.  That task force has now been dissolved.  Governor Robert Bentley said that he would rely on the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement.  However, one problem is that the Attorney General’s Office does not have law enforcement manpower to carry on the same activities the task force had.  State troopers can only be authorized by the Governor to engage in this enforcement activity.  The Attorney General’s Office does not have a police force of its own.  At this time, Governor Bentley has said he will not authorize the use of state troopers.  This will certainly hamstring the Attorney General’s Office in its ability to enforce the law.  We are trying to encourage all elected officials to cooperate in this.  Otherwise, the supreme effort in which we all engaged last year may come to naught.  Without continuous effort, we will not succeed. 

           We have been significantly involved in legal assistance in the Legislature.  This month’s Educational Update lists some of the work.  Your support makes our efforts possible.  It is amazing how much more time it takes to be proactive rather than defensive on legislative efforts.  SLI is not a lobbying organization, but when we have the opportunity to write and advise on a number of bills, it takes surprisingly more time than it does to analyze and provide advice against bills.  When we realized the makeup of the new Alabama Legislature, many of us wondered how it would affect our work.  It is obvious that opportunity creates work.

          This means that we have spent a great deal more time than we might have expected.  This takes time and financial ability away from our own law practices.  Your support for our efforts is very important.  Please contribute generously to us and continue to pray for our efforts.  We greatly appreciate your trust and partnership with us.

                                                                                     Yours very truly,

                   

                                                                                     A. Eric Johnston

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