According to Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Alabama lawmakers are being polled regarding their support for lottery legislation as Gov. Robert Bentley contemplates a special session of the Alabama Legislature later this summer or in early fall.
Last week Bentley announced he’s still considering a special session to make up a shortfall in the state’s Medicaid funding — which fell short of the agency’s requested budget by $85 million — and that he anticipated an announcement soon on whether he would call said session. In the spring, lawmakers funded up to $700 million for Medicaid. The program requires at least $785 million to operate. A state lottery could potentially fund the budget shortfall.
Several lawmakers have lottery bills in the works, including Gadsden-Democrat and House Minority Leader Craig Ford and Springfield-Republican Sen. Jim McClendon.
Earlier this year, other lottery bills stalled in the Legislature under a mix of opposition to gambling, disagreements on how a state lottery should be structured and a push to include casino gambling. The bills failed to receive a floor vote in either chamber.
Forty-four states have lotteries. Alabama is one of only six states without one, along with Mississippi, Utah, Nevada, Hawaii and Alaska. The state last considered a lottery in 1999, under Gov. Don Siegelman, when it was voted down.