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Zoo seeks support; Gaming gambits; Opposition to IVF protections and more in this week’s OTR

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


Zoo seeks support

The North Alabama Zoological Society is asking the public to urge Limestone County officials to place a public funding referendum on the ballot. The proposed zoo, four years in the making now, would be located in Limestone County and organizers say it needs public financing to help make it a reality. Officials are no doubt wary of placing anything close to a new tax on the ballot. You might remember this past December, voters in Limestone County chose not to renew the Special School Tax which would have raised millions of dollars for schools across the county. That tax had been on the books for 60 years. But perhaps residents of Limestone County enjoy zoos more than schools?  

Gaming gambit

Montgomery observers are shaking their heads over the current state of gambling legislation. In past sessions, gambling bills passed the Senate and then died in the House. This year, the gambling bill passed the House but has run into opposition in the Senate. This week, the Senate Tourism Committee made major changes to the bill removing the casinos and sports betting included in the House version. To say gambling proponents are frustrated would be accurate. One was overheard speculating that the Montgomery lobbyists can’t actually allow a gambling bill to pass as most every lobbyist in town has at least one gambling client on some side of the issue. If the problem is solved, several lobbying firms might feel it on their bottom line.

Opposition to IVF protections

While the legislative fix for IVF treatments passed overwhelmingly, and in record time, in Montgomery this week it was not without opposition. Conservative voters across the area received several text messages from a group called American Action Fund asking voters to “Call Governor Kay Ivey right away” to urge her to veto the bill she signed late Wednesday night. Earlier texts from the same group urged calls to members of the State Senate to oppose the fix which they referred to as the “Immunity for Murder” bill. There is no report on how many calls were made as a result of the text campaign but the State Senate passed the IVF fix with a unanimous vote.

Libertarian longshots?

Some unique fall campaigns are on the way following the first-ever Libertarian Primary in Madison County. Libertarian candidates for Congress and other offices are nothing new on the ballot but Tuesday was the first time Libertarians squared off in a primary. Libertarians selected candidates in the Madison County Commission District 1 race as well as Probate Judge and commission chairman. The hope is running a primary election might help them be more competitive in the fall. Local political observers don’t go along with that theory and are confident all three Republican incumbents will prevail in those races.

Athens Fridays After Five returns!

We hear the lineup for Fridays After Five in Athens could be dropping soon, perhaps this very afternoon. The immensely popular series features musical acts, food and shopping on the picture-perfect Athens square downtown. Hosted by Athens Main Street, Fridays After Five take place the last Friday of every month from April to July from 5:30-8:30 p.m. 

Bumps in the roads

Potholes are an unfortunate roadway reality in cosmopolitan areas and Huntsville is no different, and the nuisance is only going to get worse following the winter weather event that paralyzed the region in January. Yes, expect more potholes moving forward. The main arteries into, out of and around the county are certain to show the scars of graders scraping away ice. The blades not only help clear roads, they pull up reflectors and damage the asphalt. Some residents voiced frustration that neighborhood roads weren’t cleared by city crews, but doing so has never been in the city’s winter weather response plans. Not only would doing that be impractical, drivers can be thankful conditions for even more potholes weren’t created.


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