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Ivey all in; AEA questionable; a new steakhouse; and more in this week’s OTR

Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama


Ivey all in on gambling legislation

The Alabama Legislature is back in session so it’s time to talk about gambling again. The issue comes up every year with great optimism but like Lucy with the football, at the end of the session the football has moved and no bill makes it through. We are not sure what makes it different this year but Montgomery insiders are sure that “this year is different” and we will see a gambling bill pass this session. Gambling proponents got a boost from Gov. Kay Ivey who highlighted the issue in her State of the State address and word is that the House and Senate Leadership are on board with this proposal. So keep your eye on the football.

AEA: omnipotent or impotent? 

Can school choice pass the Alabama Legislature? Good question and the answer will also reveal just how much power and influence remains at the Alabama Education Association. Passage of any kind of school choice, or as the governor calls them “Education Savings Accounts,” could have never happened during the heyday of the AEA when a rumored thumbs down from former Executive Director Paul Hubbert looming in the House gallery was enough to sink any bill. But those days are long gone and the political reality in Montgomery has changed. Insiders (and campaign finance reports) say the AEA has worked hard to make new friends among Republicans in their efforts to regain some influence over education issues. This bill will test just how much those efforts have worked as legislators will soon have to pick between the AEA and groups such as Moms for Liberty when they vote.

New steakhouse coming to town

Word in the commercial real estate world is that a new steakhouse concept is looking for a site in the market. Chop House, which has 10 locations across Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio, has selected the Huntsville market for its next location. The company behind Chop House is the same as the Connors Steak and Seafood restaurant group that has a hugely successful location at Bridge Street Town Centre. Chop House is billed as a more casual option than Connors and may do multiple locations in the area.

Redstone gates: Cavalry on the way

Anyone who has to work on Redstone Arsenal knows what is awaiting them at the gates to the military post. And it isn’t pretty. Over the last several months, traffic has approached pre-pandemic levels while staffing at the gates – like just about everywhere else – has not. But, hang on. The cavalry is coming to the rescue. Team Redstone recently held a hiring fair and relief may be on the way. Meanwhile, officials encourage folks to experiment with adjusting their travel times and use alternative gates. At ease …

Archers take aim at breast cancer

Anticipation is building for the first Bow-Up Against Breast Cancer 3-D Archery Tournament taking place over Memorial Day weekend. People are invited to come out as a family to the charity event hosted by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama to honor and remember those they know who have battled the disease. Taking place in Cullman, the event will feature a tribute wall in the pavilion where people can post the names of friends, family, or coworkers celebrating their bravery and strength. All proceeds will support the BCRFA, fueling breast cancer research across Alabama. Registration has just opened at www.bow-up.org.

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