BIRMINGHAM (TAB) — Gov. Robert Bentley put the responsibility of enforcing the state’s anti-gambling laws in the hands of local sheriffs and district attorneys this morning with the signing of Executive Order 13.
Bentley’s Executive Order 13 “revokes, repeals and rescinds Executive Order 1,” according to WKRG in Montgomery. Executive Order 1, which Bentley signed in 2011 as his first official act as governor, directed the Attorney General (AG) to enforce laws related to gambling and disbanded Bentley’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling. No comment has been made as to why AG Luther Strange was removed from the primary role of enforcing anti-gambling laws.
The executive order states: “The responsibility for enforcement of Alabama criminal laws most properly lies with the elected sheriff and district attorneys of each county and is to be guided by their respective interpretation of the laws of the state of Alabama in their capacity as constitutional officers and officers of the courts.”
The state has spent an estimated $9 million on the enforcement of anti-gambling laws, which the Executive Order also states should be limited.
The Order also mentioned recent judicial rulings that have “raised concern with the unequal enforcement of Alabama’s criminal laws, including gambling laws, against individuals and businesses.” The timing of the Order coincides with the Alabama Supreme Court considering an appeal by Strange of a lower court order that would clear the path for casino owner Milton McGregor to reopen his gambling operations in Macon County, al.com reported.
Joe Godfrey, executive director of Alabama Citizens Action Program, said Alabamians “deserve better” from their government than Executive Order 13.
“I’m angry that the state government is not doing its job. … The government leaders were elected to uphold the law but instead they are doing what the gambling bosses want,” he said. “Alabama citizens no longer have a voice in their government.”