Alabama state senator proposes ‘clean’ lottery bill

State Senator Jim McClendon is filing two bills that would put Alabama on the path toward a...
State Senator Jim McClendon is filing two bills that would put Alabama on the path toward a lottery.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Mar. 19, 2019 at 1:16 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A state senator says he’s preparing to file two bills that would pave the way for an Alabama lottery.

Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said the first bill would amend the state constitution to allow for a lottery. The second bill would outline the framework of how the state would administer a lottery.

McClendon said his legislation would allow Alabamians to play a “clean” lottery.

“It is overwhelmingly clear that the people of Alabama want to vote on a lottery," McClendon said. “My proposal would establish a clean lottery - no casinos, and no card or table games of any kind.”

He said residents have long had to drive to neighboring states to buy lottery tickets and he believes that money could be better spent on in-state needs such as infrastructure and school funding.

As for where the money from the lottery would go, the senator says it would be split evenly between the state’s education and General Fund budgets.

The legislation would set up a lottery commission with appointed members, McClendon said. The commission would then choose a private company to manage the lottery. That company, in turn, would be barred from contributing any money to candidates or political action committees.

This is the second major legislative proposal for the session, which is on just its second day. The first day of the session saw passage of Gov. Kay Ivey’s “Rebuild Alabama Act," which raised fuel taxes for the first time in decades with the intentions of improving the state’s roadways, bridges, and the Mobile Port.

It’s unclear at this point what support McClendon’s legislation will have in the statehouse. The idea of a lottery has come up in multiple sessions of the legislature but has yet to pass.

Alabama is one of just five states where the lottery is not legal. The others include Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.

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