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Lottery bill passes Mississippi Senate but falters in House

Mississippi legislators split late Monday on whether to create a state lottery, leaving uncertainty about what will happen.

Posted: Aug 27, 2018 10:40 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2018 9:16 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators split late Monday on whether to create a state lottery, leaving uncertainty about what will happen.

Senators voted 31-17 to pass a lottery bill , moments after the House rejected the same proposal. Sixty House members voted against the bill, and 54 voted for it.

The issue is not going away. The bill was held for the possibility of more debate, which gives supporters a chance to try to revive it and pass it in the House.

Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, and Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has been pushing lawmakers for more than a year to create one. He wants money to help pay for highways and bridges.

Bryant points out that three of the four states bordering Mississippi have a lottery, and Mississippi residents are driving to Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee to buy millions of dollars of tickets each year.

Monday was the third day a special session that Bryant called for lawmakers to try to put more money into transportation at a time when 435 bridges around the state remain closed because of structural problems. Early Monday, both the House and the Senate passed a bill that would give cities and counties some of the sales tax money the state collects from people shopping online. The bill , known as the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018, goes to Bryant, who has signaled that he will sign it into law.

The lottery foundered in the House after the number of Democrats supporting it fell from 36 on Friday to 18 on Monday. The Senate and House last week passed different versions of a lottery bill, and top lawmakers spent much of Monday working out the differences. The two chambers must agree on a single version before it can go to the governor.

Negotiators removed a provision that could allow video lottery terminals in places like truck stops. The provision was added to the bill during a House debate Friday and is opposed by an unlikely alliance of religious groups and casino operators. Both groups want to limit where legal gambling may take place in the state to current casino sited along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. They also watered down provisions added by Democrats that would have sent more money to education.

Some supporters were left dumbfounded by the shift. Republican Rep. Richard Bennett of Long Beach, who tried to shepherd the lottery bill through the House, said he did not know if the removal of video lottery terminals caused the bill to falter.

House Speaker Philip Gunn opposes a lottery but said he would let the House vote on the issue. He said he does not know what will happen next on the issue in the House.

"Clearly, there's concerns with the bill on a number of fronts," said Gunn, a Republican from Clinton.

Gunn said the sales tax sharing plan is "historic." It is projected to eventually provide $120 million to $130 million a year for infrastructure. Counties could use their share of the money for roads and bridges, while cities could use their share for roads, bridges and water and sewer projects.

"This has been a year and a half of hard work by the House of Representatives to get a plan that provides a steady stream of revenue for roads and bridges. And today we passed it," Gunn told reporters. "The citizens can know that we did our work."

Bryant controls what issues lawmakers may consider in the special session, and he is expected to expand the session agenda to include debate over how to spend $700 million in economic damage payments from BP PLC after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Leaders are discussing dividing that money, giving 75 percent to three coastal counties and 25 percent to the rest of the state.

Gunn said the sales tax sharing plan is "historic." It is projected to eventually provide $120 million to $130 million a year for infrastructure. Counties could use their share of the money for roads and bridges, while cities could use their share for roads, bridges and water and sewer projects.

"This has been a year and a half of hard work by the House of Representatives to get a plan that provides a steady stream of revenue for roads and bridges. And today we passed it," Gunn told reporters. "The citizens can know that we did our work."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 63444

Reported Deaths: 1804
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5329110
DeSoto338727
Madison232460
Harrison222833
Rankin216830
Jackson206338
Jones180457
Forrest165353
Washington152433
Lauderdale135488
Lee127430
Neshoba123288
Lamar114613
Oktibbeha106036
Lowndes99932
Bolivar98732
Warren97630
Scott96219
Panola93611
Sunflower92623
Copiah92426
Lafayette88512
Leflore86660
Holmes85148
Pike84632
Grenada81621
Yazoo79311
Leake77125
Lincoln75641
Pontotoc7527
Wayne73621
Simpson72328
Monroe71650
Coahoma67710
Tate66524
Marion62519
Covington60112
Adams58725
Marshall5858
Winston58415
George5495
Union53814
Newton52611
Attala50224
Pearl River49637
Tallahatchie49610
Walthall46318
Chickasaw44319
Noxubee42611
Claiborne40113
Jasper3859
Smith38513
Calhoun3819
Clay37413
Alcorn3634
Prentiss3516
Hancock34414
Tishomingo3394
Itawamba31710
Tippah31612
Lawrence3155
Yalobusha31310
Clarke31025
Montgomery2973
Tunica2926
Humphreys27411
Carroll24811
Quitman2331
Greene23211
Kemper22715
Perry2267
Jefferson Davis2146
Amite2116
Webster20112
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18813
Sharkey1831
Stone1593
Benton1300
Choctaw1294
Franklin1172
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 91776

Reported Deaths: 1639
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12039228
Mobile9170197
Montgomery6305147
Madison508227
Tuscaloosa398466
Baldwin326323
Shelby307532
Marshall298433
Unassigned281255
Lee251940
Morgan224315
Etowah195728
DeKalb171813
Elmore162637
Calhoun159012
Walker147464
Houston132712
Dallas129423
Russell12471
St. Clair123612
Limestone120813
Franklin120620
Cullman115711
Colbert110712
Lauderdale109512
Autauga103020
Escambia97915
Talladega92713
Jackson8704
Chambers82838
Tallapoosa82278
Dale78722
Butler75135
Blount7413
Chilton7226
Coffee7165
Covington71520
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55824
Marion54724
Marengo52614
Clarke4879
Hale45726
Bullock44111
Winston43211
Perry4314
Wilcox4089
Monroe3954
Randolph39110
Bibb3813
Conecuh37210
Pickens3719
Sumter35918
Lawrence3240
Washington31412
Macon31113
Crenshaw2973
Choctaw27612
Cherokee2477
Henry2463
Greene24511
Geneva2420
Clay2235
Lamar2032
Fayette1765
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
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