Update: House Committee Approves Lottery Bill

California Joins Mega Millions LotteryA House committee has approved a lottery bill backed by Gov. Robert Bentley.

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee approved the bill Wednesday on an 8-3 vote. The full House of Representatives will debate the bill Thursday.

Bentley is seeking the first statewide vote on a lottery since 1999. The governor proposed a lottery as a means to provide funding to the state’s Medicaid program.

Rep. Alan Harper, who is handling the bill in the House, said he was optimistic about the bill’s chances. The proposed change to the Alabama Constitution needs 63 votes to clear the 105-seat House.

The committee approval happened amid disagreements over whether the lottery could make it on the November ballot if approved.

Secretary of State John Merrill said the deadline had passed. Sen. Jim McClendon, the bill’s sponsor, said lawmakers had until Friday.

Merrill said he is seeking the opinion of the state attorney general.
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