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Senate Passes Bentley's Version of Lottery Bill

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

A proposal to establish a state lottery is heading to the House of Representatives as Senators were finally able to break their gridlock and narrowly pass a measure.

This bill, backed by Governor Robert Bentley, would put the idea of creating a state lottery to the first public vote since 1999. This bill does not allow for any electronic gambling terminals like the measure proposed by Sen. Jim McClendon. It merely establishes a lottery, with the vast majority of revenue going to the state's General Fund.

The Alabama Senate narrowly approved the bill yesterday after a number of amendments. Those include designating 10 percent of potential lottery revenue to the state's Education Trust Fund, rather than the General Fund.

The Senate vote was a victory for Governor Bentley, but the bill still faces a number of hurdles. The House tourism committee could hear the bill Tuesday. If it passes committee, the full House of Representatives will have to approve the bill. And after making it through the House, the measure will come up as a referendum vote for all eligible state residents later this year.

The lottery bill is the centerpiece of a special session called by Bentley on Medicaid funding. Lawmakers are also considering a division of oil spill settlement funds that could provide a $70 million boost to Medicaid next year.

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