Lottery vote won’t be on November ballot

Published 1:37 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Whether or not Alabamians will have the opportunity to approve a state lottery remains to be seen, but they won’t get the opportunity in November.

A bill proposed by Gov. Robert Bentley currently making its way through the legislature procedurally cannot get out of the House of Representatives today, which the deadline a constitutional amendment being placed on the November General Fund ballot.

The Alabama Senate approved the measure Friday. The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee was expected to take it up on Tuesday, but a group of House members invoked a rarely-used rule to prevent the committee considering the bill. Members questioned whether the appropriate 24-hour notice of the committee meeting had been given, and House members supporting the measure could not get enough votes to suspend the rules.

The proposed lottery bill must pass the legislature and then be voted on in a statewide election. Gov. Bentley had hoped to get that done this year, so that funds from the lottery could help the General Fund, which has an $85 million shortfall for the budget beginning in October. Of particular concern is what the shortfall will do to Medicaid services in the state.

The legislature can still pass a lottery measure, but would have to hold a special election for voters to consider it.