In the dead of night, the state lottery bill came back to life.
After a constitutional amendment to establish a state lottery fell two votes shy of the number required for approval, the bill was presumed dead Thursday evening.
With no clear path to passage, and a looming Friday deadline for the amendment to appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, lawmakers in favor of the bill began a series of long-shot resuscitation efforts to bring the bill back to life.
Remarkably, their efforts worked.
In an unbelievable of series of votes, supporters of the lottery managed to revive the amendment around midnight and pass it, 64-35, with just one vote more than was needed.
Three Democrat representatives — Selma’s Darrio Melton, Hayneville’s Kelvin Lawrence and Grand Bay’s David Sessions — crossed the aisle to make passage possible.
“I would like to thank the Democrats and Republicans for coming together and showing bipartisan leadership,” Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday morning. “I would just like to say that I appreciate what they did and what they did for the people of this state.”
The amendment’s future is still not finalized, as it must now head back to the Alabama Senate for final approval, where senators must decide whether or not to go along with mostly minor House changes to the legislation they passed last week.
But for the time being, the lottery bill is still alive.