An Alabama House committee today adopted a new version of a bill to set up a state lottery in Alabama, changing how the money would be distributed.
The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee adopted the bill by Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, who is chairman of the House General Fund budget committee.
Clouse's bill would direct 75 percent of net lottery revenues to the General Fund and 25 percent to the Education Trust Fund.
The original version, by Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, would have first applied the revenue to pay back the Alabama Trust Fund for transfers made to support the state budget from 2013-2015. After that, Albrittons' bill would have split lottery revenues between the General Fund, a new reserve fund and the Alabama Trust Fund. Albritton is chairman of the General Fund committee in the Senate.
Albritton's bill passed the Senate last month without a vote to spare.
The bill, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution, would need 63 votes in the 104-member House to pass and the House and Senate would have to agree on the same version. If approved by the Legislature, it would go on the ballot for voters in March 2020.
The lottery is projected to raise about $167 million a year after prizes and expenses are paid.
Rep. Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden, chair of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, said the committee would vote on the lottery bill next week.
Clouse said he has talked to House members since the lottery bill passed the Senate and said there was a desire to apply some of the revenue to the Education Trust Fund. Clouse said voters would be more likely to approve a lottery if some of the money supports education.
"I think people obviously identify with education," Clouse said. "The general public, I think, doesn't quite understand what the General Fund does. When you start pointing out what the General Fund actually is, with Medicaid, prisons, mental health, senior services, state troopers, they begin to understand how important the General Fund is. "