Robert Bentley announces date for lottery special session

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Gov. Robert Bentley has announced the date for a special legislative session for Alabama lawmakers to discuss the possibility of a statewide lottery.

The special session will begin Aug. 15.

Wednesday, the governor announced the special session, saying it would generate $225 million a year to help pay for basic state services, but he didn’t announce the date at that time.

“I will not, as your governor and as a physician, watch as our most helpless and vulnerable people go without a doctor’s care,” Bentley said in the video Friday. “I can’t bear to think of the half-million children who, through no fault of their own, are born into poverty and have no way to get basic medical treatment they need to grow healthy and strong.”

Bentley hopes to have the lottery legislation on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. In order for that to happen, the Legislature would need to approve it no later than Aug. 24.

Alabama is one of only six states across the country without a state lottery. Voters rejected a lottery proposal under Gov. Don Siegelman in 1999 amid heavy opposition from church groups opposed to gambling.

The governor called a lottery the best option for solving the state’s ongoing budget problem, telling Alabamians “this is not just about a lottery, this is about our people.”

Watch Bentley’s announcement below:

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