Governor Robert Riley of Alabama and Attorney General Troy King are locked in a difficult political battle over the leadership of the Task Force on Illegal Gambling in Alabama. Last week, the tension escalated with both parties standing their ground. Governor Robert Riley sent a letter to the Attorney General, asking that King stop blocking the activities of the Task Force.
King was not as cooperative as Gov. Riley would have liked, petitioning for the state Supreme Court to step in on the issue and show the governor the boundaries of his power. Attorney General King said in a statement released on April 9th, 2010 that his office has started and is well underway with acceptable action through their courts to solve the problem with the task force and the electronic bingo machines issue.
King said that he is urging the Alabama state Supreme Court to explain to Gov. Riley that he does not have absolute power. He added that he believes that that their current course of action is appropriate and they intend to follow it. At stake in the legal drama is not only the control over the Task Force on Illegal Gambling but also the legality of the orders issued by King when he took over the management of the group last month.
King replaced Task Force Head John Tyson Jr. from his position and also sent letter to other members, canceling their involvement in the group. In Gov. Riley's letter to Attorney General King, the governor informed King that he had instructed all who were fired by the Attorney General to ignore any instructions issued by King.
The future of electronic bingo machines is also at stake. Gov. Riley said that the machines look like slot machines, which are not allowed in Alabama. Legislators in Alabama are also reviewing a bill that would permit state voters to decide on the future of electronic bingo.