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Bill outlines changes for Minnesota Lottery operations

Feb 19, 2004, 7:00 am

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Minnesota LotteryMinnesota Lottery: Bill outlines changes for Minnesota Lottery operations

The Minnesota Lottery would have far less independence from the normal checks and balances of state government under a bill proposed by two legislators.

"It regularizes this agency," Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, said Wednesday.

Rest and Rep. Tim Wilkin, R-Eagan, the co-chairs of the state Audit Commission, proposed the legislation on the eve of the release of an investigative report on the lottery by Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles.

George Andersen, the former lottery director, committed suicide last month after auditors questioned him for the report.

It was Rest who last year asked Nobles to evaluate Andersen's management of the lottery and to determine whether it is as profitable and functions as efficiently as lotteries in other states.

The legislation would require that Andersen's successor serve "at the pleasure of the governor," as other top state officials now do. Under current law, the governor can fire the lottery director only after proving some type of misconduct.

The bill also would require the lottery director to prepare and make public an annual budget, projecting capital expenditures and detailing plans for advertising and promoting the lottery.

A seven-member task force would be created by the legislation to recommend further changes in lottery operations by next year. The bill also would require the lottery to turn over to the state treasury about $2 million in unclaimed prizes.

Pioneer Press

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