During the weekend, an Arkansas gubernatorial hopeful uttered the "L" word in announcing his candidacy.
Bill Halter, a Democrat from North Little Rock, threw his hat into the ring for governor by proposing a state lottery. As in virtually every state where lotteries have been proposed, Mr. Halter recommends using lottery proceeds to fund public education in Arkansas.
It would take a constitutional amendment, and Mr. Halter said he'd pursue a lottery after being elected.
Among the general public, the idea of an Arkansas lottery has been kicked around for a long time. It hasn't gone anywhere, in part because it usually has been tied to gambling initiatives for such things as casinos in Boone County and elsewhere in the state.
To paraphrase the old song, however, Mama don't allow no gambling in Arkansas, except at the Hot Springs and West Memphis race tracks. But the lottery idea has remained persistent.
Here in the Twin Lakes Area, many people have suggested there at least should be a vote on a state lottery. Ours is a somewhat unique area since so many residents have moved here from other states that had lotteries.
There also are many area residents who regularly make the trip to the Missouri line to buy lottery tickets, especially when the Powerball jackpot gets in the nine-figure range.
As visitors to The Bulletin offices and letter writers sometimes point out, many of the cars and trucks parked outside lottery ticket outlets on the state line have Arkansas tags.
It will be interesting to see how people across the state react to Mr. Halter's proposition and its effect on a race with Attorney General Mike Beebe, the only other announced Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
There are lots of pros and cons to consider about a lottery, and obviously Mr. Halter's suggestion is still in its formative stage. It's pretty early to go any further than a general discussion of any lottery idea here.
However, one con that consistently surfaces is tying lotteries to education funding. In some of the states where lotteries were passed to fund education, that became the sole source of funding when the legislatures cut off other state funds. In the end, there generally wasn't a whole lot of improvement in education funding.
Anyone thinking of recommending a lottery to Arkansans might want to ponder that point and rethink using public education to gain support. They also might not want to tie it to casino gambling or other games of chance.