/House vote revives lottery effort

House vote revives lottery effort

Alyce Clarke (D-Jackson) introduced an amendment in Senate Bill 2976 to the appropriations bill to the Mississippi Gaming Commission. This would require that the state implement a lottery before funding is granted to the commission. Clarke, who has been pushing for a lottery for many years without success, told her colleagues on Thursday that the state requires a lottery in order to fund K-12 education and provide additional funding for cities and roads. The amendment states that the gaming commission won’t be funded unless the Legislature “enacts legislation to establish a state lottery to fund K-12 education, state aid and municipalities.” Many Democrats supported the bill, arguing Mississippians travel to other states to purchase lottery tickets. Rep. Tommy Reynolds (D-Charleston) said, “The money’s there.” “The money is being used in other states, and not in ours,” said Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston. Rep. David Baria (D-St. Louis) disagreed and reminded Clarke that the leadership has not made a firm commitment for a lottery to be created. Speaker Philip Gunn last year announced the creation of a study panel to examine the merits and viability of a lottery. The group met several times but all of the lottery bills that were filed during the 2018 legislative session fell in committee. Baria asked, “We keep hearing that this is not the right vessel.” Clarke’s amendment was passed by voice vote. However, the Senate and House leaders must still take up the appropriations bill in conference before the session ends.