The new bill was originally killed on Monday 27th August after a 6-person majority voted against it. Governor Phil Bryant and his staff should be praised for the efforts during Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning which managed to swing eight votes from a no to a yes, meaning the bill was voted in 58-54 during a special session on Tuesday 28th August.
The bill now goes before the governor to be signed into law, but as Gov. Bryant was so instrumental in its creation there will likely be no hiccups. The bill comes over 20 years after the constitution’s lottery ban was repealed in the state.
Money that is raised through lottery ticket sales will mainly go to working on state roads and bridges for the next 10 years, finally ending the stalemate between House and Senate GOP leaders on how to fix Mississippi’s crumbling infrastructure. Any excess money, specifically over $80million, will go to helping education via the Education Enhancement Fund.
After the bill was passed, many of the voters who changed from a ‘no’ vote to a ‘yes’ stated they previously voted against the bill due to concerns about its wording and the way it was being handled, not necessarily the actual idea of running a lottery. Another concern was that the use of lottery terminals could potentially bring video poker to the state, but Rep. Kevin Ford said “This bill kills it 100 percent”.
The bill has been named the Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Act, in honour of Rep. Alyce Clarke. Alyce, D-Jackson, pushed for a state lottery for years on end, filing bills nearly every year for two decades.