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.

Cases: 312608

Reported Deaths: 7221
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21429257
Hinds20256414
Harrison17776308
Rankin13539278
Jackson13395246
Madison10051217
Lee9956173
Jones8364163
Forrest7633152
Lauderdale7215240
Lowndes6359144
Lamar620286
Lafayette6162118
Washington5320133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460398
Panola4545104
Pearl River4495145
Marshall4387103
Warren4368120
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408776
Neshoba4028176
Lincoln3939110
Hancock376686
Leflore3484125
Sunflower335290
Tate331684
Pike3290105
Scott314873
Alcorn310768
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299377
Copiah295865
Coahoma293979
Simpson293788
Tippah287268
Prentiss278560
Marion268680
Leake264973
Wayne262241
Grenada259985
Adams259882
Covington256281
Newton246961
George246748
Winston226981
Tishomingo225067
Jasper220748
Attala214273
Chickasaw207057
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181433
Clarke178179
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169532
Yalobusha162936
Smith162034
Walthall133745
Greene130233
Lawrence128223
Noxubee126834
Montgomery126742
Perry126038
Amite123442
Carroll121628
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102130
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95628
Franklin83323
Quitman79616
Choctaw75818
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 528784

Reported Deaths: 10913
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson762251516
Mobile40864804
Madison34569501
Tuscaloosa25646451
Montgomery24264585
Shelby23355246
Baldwin20993306
Lee15800168
Calhoun14457312
Morgan14250279
Etowah13796352
Marshall12166222
Houston10506280
Elmore10017205
Limestone9935150
Cullman9617193
St. Clair9584237
Lauderdale9397238
DeKalb8813185
Talladega8183175
Walker7205279
Autauga6910107
Jackson6793110
Blount6621135
Colbert6282134
Coffee5491115
Dale4810111
Russell437938
Chilton4244111
Franklin423882
Covington4105117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia392675
Chambers3545123
Dallas3536150
Clarke350360
Marion3092100
Pike309177
Lawrence299698
Winston273572
Bibb259763
Marengo248564
Geneva247075
Pickens233559
Barbour230256
Hale221776
Butler215469
Fayette211962
Henry188544
Cherokee183845
Randolph179241
Monroe176240
Washington166839
Macon158649
Clay153356
Crenshaw151657
Cleburne148341
Lamar141234
Lowndes138453
Wilcox126528
Bullock122941
Conecuh110028
Perry107526
Coosa106828
Sumter104132
Greene92234
Choctaw60324
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