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Texas legislature defeats Internet lottery bill

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas legislature defeats Internet lottery bill

An Internet search for "online gambling" netted 9 million hits Wednesday, but Texas House members nixed hopes that one of those might lead to the Texas Lottery.

Lawmakers, seeking ways to help fund the state budget, rejected a measure, 89-52, that would have raised as much as $275 million more a year by allowing the lottery to debut on the Internet.

Passions rose in an unpredictably bipartisan fashion as lawmakers debated the virtues and vices of expanding gambling to pay for better education, health care and other programs that aid the youngest and most needy.

"Let's not allow the children to drown while we be holier than thou and say to them, 'Drown. We will save you in the afterlife,' " said Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, angered by lawmakers who said his gambling idea would hurt the poorest Texans most.

Turner's failed measure, prompting hours of the first gambling debate on the House floor this session, was among 46 ideas offered to reconcile the state's next two-year budget.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said the budget plan tentatively adopted without the gambling proposal will add $1 billion more toward the budget.

"Thank you for helping me celebrate Christmas today and helping me decorate my Christmas tree," said Pitts of the budget baubles added to the bill, just before his plan tentatively passed 107-37.

One adopted measure would add 40 cents per pack, in addition to a $1 per pack tax already approved, for those cigarette manufacturers who never settled with the state in an earlier tobacco lawsuit.

Turner's Internet gambling idea prompted unusual alliances in a chamber often divided along partisan lines.

Turner's proposal would have allowed online transactions using a debit card, an ATM card or through an account set up by the Texas Lottery Commission.

"We're now going to have unregulated gambling. There is no way to know who it is (online,)" said Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, adding it could be a 10-year-old child with a parent's debit card.

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, and Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, worried that online gambling could worsen the plight of low-income Texans and their children.

Money these families need to pay for groceries, the light bill or the rent could be wasted on the lottery instead, the two agreed.

Houston Chronicle

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12 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by LOTTOMIKE.
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LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
Tennessee
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Posted: May 6, 2005, 4:07 pm - IP Logged


they are always going to reject anything worthwhile........

    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
    Tennessee
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    Posted: May 6, 2005, 4:09 pm - IP Logged


    "it could be a 10 year old with a parents debit card"  says one lawmaker. its worries like this that get good things like this defeated.....

      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
      Chief Bottle Washer
      New Jersey
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      Posted: May 6, 2005, 4:26 pm - IP Logged


      "it could be a 10 year old with a parents debit card"  says one lawmaker. its worries like this that get good things like this defeated.....



      Absolutely correct Lottomike.  It used to be that it was the parents' responsibility to keep certain things out of the hands of their kids.  Now the STATE somehow thinks they are the parents.  (I was going to add that that concept is at the heart of liberalism, but I won't do that.)

      Message from me to the state government:  I personally could care less if some parent out there wants to be clueless enough to not only let their 10 year old get access to the Internet, much less get access to their credit card.  Let the parent deal (or not deal) with that, and stop using that kind of excuse to limit my freedoms.

       

      Check the State Lottery Report Card
      What grade did your lottery earn?

       

      Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
      Help eliminate computerized drawings!

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        Columbia City, Indiana
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        Posted: May 6, 2005, 8:16 pm - IP Logged

        "Money these families need to pay for groceries, the light bill or the rent could be wasted on the lottery instead, the two agreed."

         




        If their budgets are that tight, the odds are very good that they won't have a computer, internet access or a credit card. Besides, what's going to keep all those nasty poor people from walking down to their local 7-11 and spending that money on lottery tickets in spite of the lawmakers' opinions? What's going to keep that ten-year-old from glomming onto Mommy's ATM card and jumping headlong into a $300 online Texas Hold 'Em tournament?

         

        We jumped the track a few miles ago, I'm afraid. Our legislators are straying farther and farther from their roles as representatives of our collective voice, and are exerting more and more control over the choices available to us. If a special interest group or a political lobby doesn't like something, the blanket solution is to pass a law against it. This by no means lessens the frequency of the imagined offense, but simply makes the act itself illegal, which will cause one of two possible results: either the state coffers fill up more quickly, or the state prisons fill up more quickly, and they don't care which way it goes, since they can capitalize politically on either outcome. 

        I'm sure another state will pick up the ball. Several years ago, the Delaware Lottery had a game which allowed players to bet on NFL football games, called the Delaware Sports Lottery. The NFL lost a lawsuit they filed to ban this type of betting, but the game was discontinued anyway after just a few weeks. Several years later, Oregon's lottery did the same thing and made it work. As far as I know, you can still bet on your favorite professional sports teams via lottery terminal in Oregon. Buying tickets online is the next logical, and inevitable, step for the lottery industry.  

        For all their vision and perceived superior breeding, our modern lawmakers are notoriously short-sighted. They're so worried about regulating and taxing internet commerce that they're stunting its growth while doing everything possible to contain it, lest someone make a dollar and spend it without benefit of being told how it needs to be spent.

        Ethics is the big issue in Indiana right now. Governor Daniels has vowed to "get tough" on ethics in government. Yet, he just accepted a brand new class A motor home from a local RV manufacturer, and the soybean industry is supplying its fuel. Daniels assures us that this is not a conflict of interest since, without the RV, our governor would have to drive his own car (well, it didn't make sense when I read it in the newspaper, either). Our legislators approved the new ethics bill which provides very stiff penalties, including jail time, for employees caught breaking the law or violating the code of ethics, but these penalties do not apply to elected officials, directors or executives.

        Basically, what this means is that our county and state employees, and the general constituency as well, are being held to a higher standard than our elected officials, so what's wrong with this picture?  

        I can't help noticing that our modern lawmakers' attitudes are beginning to echo those of Roman senators during the final years of that empire. Is America immune to collapse at the hands of her caretakers?

        Time will tell...   

        Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

        Jim

          LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
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          Posted: May 6, 2005, 8:34 pm - IP Logged

          i agree,these lawmakers have power and can unleash it when they think its convenient to them........

            LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
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            Posted: May 7, 2005, 7:31 pm - IP Logged

            They should had put it to a citizens vote.

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            "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."

              LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
              Tennessee
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              Posted: May 7, 2005, 9:02 pm - IP Logged

              i agree,citizens vote would've been great.

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                Columbia City, Indiana
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                Posted: May 8, 2005, 3:10 pm - IP Logged

                Had that bill gone to referendum, I'm sure the citizenry would have given their overwhelming approval; a very risky endeavor for the sponsor's career. 

                However, that would have required Texas lawmakers to relinquish some control over their constituencies, and would have allowed the people to think for themselves and come to a decision on their own. We can't have that.

                Forty years ago, referendums were popular vehicles for elected officials to gain support on controversial issues. Today, they are very rare. Maybe that's because we have more controversy these days than we had back then. I'm more inclined to believe our elected officials are drunk with power, and will do anything necessary to keep their herds intact.

                I've said this before, and it bears repeating here:

                Recall elections are not exclusive to California. The time has come to show these idiots that we want representatives who are going to represent our interests rather than their own. Elective office has become a lottery drawing in itself, where the rewards can far surpass those of any PowerBall or MegaMillions jackpot.

                "...that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."   Abraham Lincoln - November 19, 1863

                Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

                Jim

                  LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
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                  Posted: May 9, 2005, 6:51 am - IP Logged

                  they don't like to relinquish control,your right about that.

                    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                    Tennessee
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                    Posted: May 9, 2005, 6:51 am - IP Logged

                    i say what the majority wants...it should get.

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                      Columbia City, Indiana
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                      Posted: May 9, 2005, 4:31 pm - IP Logged

                      LOTTOMIKE:

                      Of course you're correct; in a true democracy, the majority rules. Period. Case in point: Kennesaw, Georgia 1982, when the following law was passed by referendum:




                      Sec. 34-1 Heads of households to maintain firearms.

                      (a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the City, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the City limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

                      (b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability, which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.

                      This caused a national firestorm, as it was only a year distant from the attempted assassination of President Reagan. The Brady Bill was being pushed through Congress at the time, so this radical gun law was a real fly in the federal ointment. Even some Kennesaw residents vehemently opposed this legislation, but the majority rules, so it was passed and enacted.

                      What does this have to do with the lottery? Well, nothing, except that it serves to illustrate that popular opinion, even when it's not very popular, can and should prevail without regard to the opinions of our lawmakers. Essentially, our elected officials, like conscientious journalists, relinquish any rights to their own opinions (on legislative issues) when they take the job, save for their personal choices in general elections. As it stands, they continually make it their duty to protect us from ourselves by superimposing their own opinions and personal choices over those of the general constituency.

                      I'd like to share some definitions from Webter's New World Dictionary, just for the sake of comparison:



                      Democracy  n., 1 - Government in which the people hold the ruling power, either directly or through elected representatives; rule by the ruled.


                      Republic n., 1a - A state or nation in which the supreme power rests in all the citizens entitled to vote [the electorate], and is exercised by representatives elected, directly or indirectly, by them and responsible to them.


                      Oligarchy n., 1 - A form of government in which the ruling power belongs to a few persons.


                      Which most accurately describes our current state of affairs?


                      Until fairly recently, this country was the voice of democracy; we were the model other democratic nations emulated but, thanks to our narrow-minded and short-sighted legislators, we've become nothing more than a powerful thug in the eyes of the world. LosingJeff was correct in his assessment (he pointed out the oligarchy concept).


                      I love America and would die for her, as evidenced by the opportunities I've had to do so. I have no love nor fondness for our elected leaders, but only animosity, for having made so many poor choices and then shrugging the consequences onto the shoulders of the people who put them in office. I would feel differently if they were willing to share the burdens they create, but they don't suffer in the least; they're not willing to suffer with the rest of us because they've convinced themselves (or maybe we have) that the reason they're in office is simply because they're better people and, as such, are better qualified to dictate how we live our lives and spend our money. We're told we must "tighten our belts" while they lean back in their chairs, pat their ample stomachs and belch.


                      A course in financial responsibility should be requisite for anyone elected to any public office, at any level of government, anywhere in the United States and her territories. Ongoing core value training should also be required, and they should be able to recite the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from memory (yes; the whole thing - they put those amendments in there, so they should have to prove they know their contents). Maybe this is a ridiculous notion, but consider the caliber of politicians we'd have today if the job required some effort on their part. We would no longer have people going into public office for the power they wield, for the available graft or for the practically guaranteed lobbyist position once they leave office. The only people who'd run for office would be those who wanted to work for us. As things are, the only qualification a person must exhibit to be elected is having access to enough money to wage an effective campaign. That's it. No degree needed, no experience necessary; please apply within.


                      I really have no place to go with this. I'm just venting my disgust with the current state of things, because I'm so tired of the ineptitude of these people, as I'm sure most of us are. The time is not far off, if not already upon us, when we'll find it in our best interest to take our nation back from these weasels. Once enough of them have been thrown out of office, whether via recall election or criminal prosecution in cases of wrongdoing, those that remain will, hopefully, begin to get the idea that we've had it with their ilk and their self-serving policies.


                      As I mentioned in another post, the general population is now being held to a higher standard than our police and elected officials. When one of us breaks the law, he goes to jail (or pays a fine and draws probation, at the very least). When a politician breaks the law, he's criticized in the newspapers but, beyond that, no real remedies exist.

                      Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

                      Jim

                        LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                        Tennessee
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                        Posted: May 12, 2005, 9:44 pm - IP Logged

                        i agree with you on that......but unfortunately like you said these politicians can make their own rules.......