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: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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