Alabama House committee wants lottery bill to give education part of the revenue
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House Economic Development and Tourism Committee on Thursday morning held a public hearing on and adopted a substitute version of SB 220, State Sen. Greg Albritton’s (R-Atmore) constitutional amendment that would legalize a clean, paper-only lottery in the state of Alabama.
State Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) is carrying the bill in the House. He presented a substitute during the committee meeting that would change the revenue distribution in the bill so that 75 percent of funds would flow to the state general fund, while 25 percent would go to the Education Trust Fund. The committee adopted the substitute unanimously.
The bill passed by the Senate did not allow for any revenue to benefit education.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) has said that lottery money benefitting the general fund would protect the education fund.
The House committee is set to vote on the bill next week. If the committee approves the bill, it would then proceed to the House. The full House would also need to vote on adoption of the substitute, which seems likely to carry given that it is a compromise between ETF and general fund proponents, before voting on the bill itself. If the substituted version receives passage by the full House, the Senate would then be faced with the option to concur or non-concur. Non-concurrence would result in a conference committee.
Clouse’s substitute version also includes some “cleanup language,” as he called it. This includes removing the word “multisovereign” and replacing it with a term clarifying the intent of that language was simply to allow Alabama to participate in Powerball.
Clouse expressed confidence that the substitute does not affect the amount of pro-lottery votes in the Senate, which only passed the bill with the minimum threshold. That being said, Clouse did emphasize that the House vote is expected to be “very close.” He noted this will need to be a bipartisan effort if the House is going to get the necessary 60 percent threshold of votes.
Clouse also stressed the importance of keeping the legislation to a clean, paper-only lottery.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn