Texas Legislature - Lottery
10:14 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Rollercoaster Ride For The Texas Lottery Commission

House Bill 2197, which is authored by Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, was set to continue the funding for the Texas Lottery Commission for the next 12 years.

However, the bill was initially defeated, a move that Anchia said took him by surprise:

"None of the members had talked to me about their opposition to the lottery," Anchia said. "There were two members who said they were going to speak against the bill, but there was no groundswell of opposition that I sensed. As the debate went on and on there was a displeasure, some concerns about the historical performance of the lottery, social impacts of the lottery, and those were manifested."

The bill was opposed by many House Republicans, one of which was Rep. Scott Sanford of McKinney:

"Now please join me in planning for and working toward the right thing in this matter," Sanford said. "Let’s commit to look after those who are unfairly taxed in the name of false hope and entertainment. Let’s work toward removing the great state of Texas  as a complicit partner in this immoral and predatory tax on those who can least afford it."

After several hours of reasoning by the bill’s author, it won an appeal to have to the vote reconsidered.

Anchia said he understands Tea Party Republican opposition to his bill, but said the vote ultimately came down to being able to fill a gap in the state budget.

"I’m neutral on the lottery - I don’t love it and I don’t hate it - but I do love public school children and I want to make sure they have the best education. The legislature had no alternatives in place to fund public education to the tune of $2.2 billion on an on-going basis," Anchia said.

The lottery commission was created by the 73rd Legislature and almost decommissioned by the 83rd Legislature.

The bill to continue the funding for the Texas Lottery Commission ultimately was approved on a vote of 93 to 53 in the Texas House and now moves to the Senate.