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Alabama lottery bill dies

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By Alton Mitchell

There was a runner on third base with two outs and the batter was down two strikes as the runner on third could see the home plate the batter got the final strike ending the dreams of the runner on third. While using the analogy of baseball to explain what happened to the lottery bill in the Alabama Senate on Friday only offers a medium comparison it shows one thing the hopes of Alabama voters seeing a lottery bill on the November ballot will not happen.

The Alabama Senate needed 21 votes in order to get the proposed lottery bill on the ballot. Only 7 senators backed the bill that had cleared every other hurdle in the state of Alabama over the past several weeks. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley introduced the bill earlier this summer in hopes of generating extra revenue for needed programs such as Alabama Medicaid.

This is the second time that Alabama has come close to having a lottery and then failed in the last stages. In 1999 voters turned down the idea of an Alabama lottery after then Governor Don Siegelman had proposed the bill and got it on the ballot. In the case of Bentley’s proposal it never made to the ballot for voters to decide upon as it could not clear political hurdles in the senate.

The failure in the Senate of Friday means one thing is certain and that is the lottery bill is dead in Alabama and will not go to voters in November. That has left a bigger problem which is an $85 million hole that Alabama Medicaid is facing right now. Three of Alabama’s neighboring states have state sponsored lotteries which does pull revenue out of the state of Alabama. This is one of the things Governor Bentley had hoped to stop with the Alabama lottery.