The Powerball jackpot has climbed to $700 million and many Alabamians are crossing the state line for a chance to win the prize.
Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin lslands, but it is not allowed in Alabama.
As people cross the state line to buy tickets, some Alabama lawmakers are working on legislation to change that.
Republican Senator Jim McClendon from Springville plans to sponsor a bill during the legislative session that begins Feb. 2 that would allow the people to vote on whether to create a lottery in Alabama. The last time that happened was in 1999.
"I am sponsoring this because of constituent requests," McClendon said. "Throughout my district, people have said why don't we have a lottery in Alabama? We're driving to Georgia and Tennessee. We're driving out of state and spending our money and we'd like to spend our money right here at home."
McClendon says creating a lottery would also pump revenue into the state.
"We're talking probably $300 million annually," he said.
Rep. Alan Harper, R-Northport, said he will sponsor the bill in the House of Representatives.
McClendon said details of the proposal would be announced at a press conference on Tuesday. He said that the legislation is still being finalized.
For Alabama to have a lottery, three-fifths of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives would have to approve a bill proposing an amendment to the state Constitution, which prohibits lotteries.
The proposal would then go to voters in a statewide referendum.
Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper, said he did not know how much support McClendon's bill would have in the Republican caucus, which holds 26 of the 35 seats in the Senate.
Reed said the level of support in the caucus would probably depend on several factors.
One factor would be whether the proceeds go to education, the General Fund, or a combination.
Another factor would be whether Alabama would join an existing multi-state lottery or start its own lottery games.
Reed said it's well documented that the state has problems funding critical services and that he was appreciative of McClendon and any legislators offering potential solutions.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, proposed a constitutional amendment last year to allow a lottery and casino gambling at the state's four greyhound tracks. It never came up for a vote in the Senate, and Marsh has said he does not intend to bring it back this year because he did not think it had adequate support.
Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, proposed a constitutional amendment last year that would have allowed Alabama to join multi-state lotteries, with proceeds going to the General Fund. It died in committee. Sanford said he did not plan to bring his bill back this year.
Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, minority leader in the House, has sponsored lottery bills for several years and said he planned to introduce one again this year.Ford said his proposal would apply the proceeds to college scholarships. Ford said he did not think the public would support a lottery bill for the General Fund because lawmakers moved revenue from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund last year to help close a General Fund shortfall.
In 1999, the Legislature approved Gov. Don Siegelman's proposal for a lottery to fund college scholarships, prekindergarten and school technology.
But voters rejected the proposal 54 percent to 46 percent.
McClendon said he would like to see this latest proposal on the ballot in November 2016, when large turnout is expected for the presidential election.