Department of Political Science

Rawls and Huntley appointed to state task force on gambling

Published on Mar 01, 2020

Split photo, Phillip Rawls on left and Liz Huntley on the right

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey recently signed an executive order which formed a study group for gambling policy. The study group is tasked with gathering detailed information to allow the governor, legislature and citizens of Alabama to make an informed decision on gaming expansion in Alabama.

The study group is made up of 12 individuals representing a cross-section of Alabama interests including legal scholars, law enforcement and public servants from state and local levels, clergy and successful members of the business community.

One of the 12 people is Phillip "Phil" Rawls who teaches journalism (and was just named Best Auburn Professor 2020) and has spent over 35 years as a reporter for the Associated Press. His respected career in journalism spanned every Alabama governor from George Wallace to Robert Bentley where he extensively covered government and politics.

“I covered many task forces as a reporter. Now I get to see what it is like to serve on one,” Rawls said.

All members of the study group agreed to sign a pledge adhering to the Alabama Ethics Law and shall serve without compensation or reimbursement for their expenses. They will formally sign the pledge at their first public meeting.

“I’m extremely grateful that some of our most distinguished citizens – from a diverse background including all regions of our state – have agreed to help gather this information," Ivey said in a statement. “Ultimately, I believe the final say belongs to the people of Alabama. As their governor, I want them to be fully informed of all the facts so that, together, we can make the best decision possible.”

Also serving on the task force is College of Liberal Arts alumna Elizabeth "Liz" Huntley, a 1993 political science graduate. Huntley, from Birmingham, is a litigation attorney at Lightfoot, Franklin and White LLC. After rising from an unimaginable childhood, she has become a nationally recognized child advocate and serves on numerous boards including the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, the Children’s Village Board of Directors and the Auburn University Board of Trustees.

The study group will submit a final report to the governor, legislature and the people of Alabama no later than Dec. 31.