Wednesday , 20 June 2018

Texas House Moves to Dismantle Lottery, then Restores in Same Day

By Aman Batheja, The Texas Tribune

Update:In a 91-53 vote Tuesday afternoon, the Texas House passed House Bill 2197, continuing the the Texas Lottery Commission. An earlier vote Tuesday had failed to continue the commission.

Original story:

In an outcome that left many House members stunned, a bill to continue the Texas Lottery Commission failed on Tuesday, potentially abolishing scratch-off tickets, charity bingo and other popular games of chance and blowing a new hole in the state budget.

The House voted 65-81 on House Bill 2197 which would have continued the functions of the Texas Lottery Commission. The vote reflected a growing sentiment among House members that the lottery unfairly preys on the state’s low-income residents.

“I think you just had a lot of people that are philosophically opposed to the lottery,” said state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, the bill’s author. “A lot of people just hate the lottery.”

If left unresolved, budget writers would have $1.1 billion a year less for public schools, supporters warned. Anchia, who had not expected the bill to fail, said he worried even if the bill can be revived in the Senate it would fail again in the House.

During a spirited debate on the bill, state Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, got a round of applause in the House as he spoke against the bill, calling the lottery a “predatory tax” and “a tax on poor people.”

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