Nearly half of the North Carolina Senate is on a special committee that will debate the lottery bill approved last week by the House, including several members worried about state-sponsored gambling.
Senate leaders Tuesday named 21 members to the special panel, including three Democrats who have publicly opposed a lottery, and six Republicans.
The committee chairman will be Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, an ally of Gov. Mike Easley, who has been pushing for a lottery since his 2000 campaign.
Democratic Sens. Dan Clodfelter of Mecklenburg County, Janet Cowell of Wake County and Martin Nesbitt of Buncombe County, are on the panel. Each has expressed reservations about a stand-alone lottery bill.
With two additional Democrats currently opposed, Senate leaders would have to change some minds to get a bill passed the 50-seat Senate.
Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, who also is on the committee, said he believes all 21 Republicans in the Senate will oppose the lottery.
The initial meeting of the committee had not been scheduled late Tuesday.
The House voted 61-59 in favor of a lottery that would dedicate 50 percent of net proceeds to school construction. The rest would go to need-based university scholarships and a special fund controlled by legislators to benefit public education programs.
House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, said changes to the bill in the Senate could make it difficult to retain the razor-thin majority in the chamber.
Other Senate committee members include Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson; Doug Berger, D-Franklin; Julia Boseman, D-New Hanover; Harry Brown, R-Onslow; Charlie Dannelly, D-Mecklenburg; John Garwood, R-Wilkes; Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus; David Hoyle, D-Gaston; John Kerr, D-Wayne; Jeanne Lucas, D-Durham; Vernon Malone, D-Wake; R.C. Soles, D-Columbus; A.B. Swindell, D-Nash; Scott Thomas, D-Craven; Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph; and David Weinstein, D-Robeson.