The Alabama Senate passed a bill 21-12 Thursday calling for a referendum on a state lottery.
SB 220 by Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, would place the lottery before a vote of the people March 3, 2020, the date of Alabama’s presidential primary. If approved, the constitutional amendment would establish an Alabama lottery statewide and legalize the sale of paper lottery tickets, including those for multi-state lottery games. Dubbed the “clean lottery bill” by some, the legislation prohibits video lottery terminals or interactive electronic games.
Proceeds above administrative costs and prize payouts would go to the Alabama Trust Fund and state General Fund (GF). Initial revenue would go to pay back money borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund to prop up the GF in 2013-15. Once the repayment was made, 50% of remaining proceeds would go to the GF annually. The other half would be used to build a General Fund Reserve Fund and a Lottery Trust Fund, both equal to 10% of the current year GF appropriation. The Lottery Trust Fund would be used to help the state transition from budgeting based on projected revenues to a system based on recurring revenues. Once those funds reached the 10% threshold, any leftover proceeds would go to the Alabama Trust Fund.
The Legislative Services Agency estimates the lottery would bring in $167 million a year. In directing lottery proceeds to the GF, Albritton cited growing costs for prisons and Medicaid.
Amendments were added on the Senate floor to ensure the bill would not impact current legal gaming at racetracks and other facilities.
Voting in favor of SB 220 were Sens. Albritton; Will Barfoot, R-Montgomery; Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville; Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva; Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham; Chris Elliott, R-Fairhope; Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman; Andrew Jones, R-Centre; Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro; Del Marsh, R-Anniston; Tim Melson, R-Florence; Randy Price, R-Opelika; Greg Reed, R-Jasper; Clay Scofield, R-Red Hill; David Sessions, R-Grand Bay; Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville; Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham; Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills; Cam Ward, R-Alabaster; Tom Whatley, R-Auburn; and Jack Williams, R-Wilmer.
Voting “no” were Sens. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale; Billy Beasley, D-Clayton; David Burkette, D-Montgomery; Tom Butler, R-Madison; Vivian Figures, D-Mobile; Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville; Jim McClendon, R-Springville; Arthur Orr, R-Decatur; Dan Roberts, R-Birmingham; Malika Sanders-Fortier, D-Selma; Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro; and Larry Stutts, R-Sheffield.