Lottery Bill Filed In House
Posted February 13, 2003 7:34 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Voters would have their say on whether North Carolina should operate a lottery for education in a bill filed Wednesday in the state House.
The legislation was filed five months after the state House rejected a similar advisory referendum by a vote of 69-50.
Gov. Mike Easley, who wants a lottery with proceeds going to his education programs, lobbied for more than a year for the vote. A coalition of Republicans and liberal Democrats defeated the measure.
"It's still going to be an uphill battle, that's no secret," said Rep. Bill Owens, D-Pasqoutank, the bill sponsor. He's still hopeful because last year's vote was the first one in the House in recent history.
"That's better than it's ever been done before," Owens said.
Wednesday's bill would create a statewide referendum in which voters would check yes or no to the question of whether to have an "Education Lottery." The General Assembly would still have to approve a lottery for the game to become a reality.
North Carolina is the only state on the East Coast without a lottery. It will be surrounded by lottery states once Tennessee starts its game after voters approved state-run gambling in November.
Lottery supporters say North Carolina residents are educating children in other states when they cross the border to play lottery games.
Polls consistently have shown a majority of state residents support a lottery. Strong anti-lottery forces - including churches and social justice groups - helped persuade a majority of lawmakers to oppose the referendum.
Other legislation filed Wednesday includes: