The Mississippi House of Representatives say no to a state lottery. But as MPB's Ashley Norwood reports, supporters of the lottery may have one more play up their sleeves.
The debate over a state lottery is going into its fourth day at the capitol. Last night, the Mississippi Senate passed a bill that would create a state lottery with a vote of 31 to 17. It came moments after the House voted down the same bill with a bipartisan vote of 54 to 60.
Democratic Representative David Baria of Hancock County says lawmakers voting no have a few concerns about the final version.
"There were several people who had problems with the way the board is structured and the way that the president salary is unlimited and the fact that we're not really going to see any money from the lottery go to education for the next ten years," says Baria.
The House bill is being held on a motion to reconsider and could be brought back up today.
Democratic Senator Willie Simmons is Chairman of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee. He says he was shocked by the House results, but he hopes they will reconsider and send the bill to Governor Phil Bryant to sign into law.
"Eighty million coming from the lottery and a hundred and twenty million or so coming from the other ways and means we have in the infrastructure bill so if we are going to put the $200 million in place then we have to have the lottery," said Simmons.
Speaker of the House Republican Philip Gunn opposes a state lottery. He says he had no hands in turning the table on this lottery bill.
"I've been very vocal in my opposition and very strong in my position. I've also said I would let the process work and I did. The process worked today and you see the results of it," said Gunn.
Legislators expect the special session will continue for at least another day to discuss a bill on BP settlement money. Ashley Norwood, MPB News