State Sen. McClendon: ‘This is the year for the lottery to go through’
State Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville), who is sponsoring a lottery bill this legislative session, believes this is the year for a lottery proposal to pass the legislature and get to a referendum of the people for approval.
In an interview on Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show” this week, McClendon – who was one of only six Senate “no” votes on the Rebuild Alabama Act – pushed back on the assertion he has been seeing on social media that there is a level of widespread waste in state government that could even come close to paying for a major endeavor like increased infrastructure investment.
“Come find it,” he challenged listeners. “I don’t know where it is. I don’t know where it is. Anybody that comes on [social media] and says we’re squandering money on this project or that project – how about pointing out exactly where it is and we’ll look into it. I just don’t believe it’s there.”
McClendon, like Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) on “The Dale Jackson Show” last week, explained how Republicans have successfully cut waste since 2010.
“We’ve cut expenses, we’ve cut [state] employees, we’ve done a bunch of stuff since 2010 to make this a more efficient state,” McClendon advised. “I don’t know where that [wasted] money is.”
He and the hosts then discussed getting the state out of the alcohol retail business as a possible way to save a good amount of money annually.
“I don’t think that’s going to generate enough money to fix the roads,” McClendon said.
However, he does believe the lottery could provide a large amount of new revenue for state government.
This is why McClendon will introduce his lottery bill Tuesday, the day the 2019 regular session reconvenes.
He plans for the lottery revenues to be split evenly between the Education Trust Fund and the General Fund.
When his bill gets in front of the legislature for consideration, he warned, “[E]veryone and his brother will probably want a piece of that [revenue].”
McClendon’s proposal will allow multi-state games like Mega Millions, as well as Alabama’s own lottery.
“The bill says what we want to offer in Alabama is anything that anybody can get in any other state that has a lottery,” he explained. “It’s very straightforward. Yes, the Powerball. Yes, the local draw. Yes, the scratch-offs. Yes, the whatever they come up with.”
The state senator believes this is the session a lottery will advance to a vote of the people for the first time since 1999.
“I’ve got a feeling that this is the year for the lottery to go through [the legislature],” McClendon emphasized.
He also clarified that he would technically be bringing two pieces of lottery legislation: A constitutional amendment to actually allow the lottery that would go straight from the legislature to a referendum and a regular bill to stipulate how the lottery revenue would be spent that would go from the legislature to the governor’s desk.
‘They’re linked,” McClendon said, adding the two bills will “run parallel.”
The referendum, if the constitutional amendment passes the legislature this session, would take place on Alabama’s presidential primary date of March 3, 2020, according to McClendon.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn