A day after a quick reversal that may have saved the lottery commission for 12 more years, the Texas House of Representatives finalized a bill to keep the Texas Lottery Commission, but will look at other ways to generate the public education funds generated by lottery games.
Tuesday afternoon, an initial vote of 81-65, HB 2197 was surprisingly voted down.
The bill would extend the Texas Lottery Commission, which not only oversees all lottery games but other gambling such as bingo across the state.
Hours after the initial vote, the House approved the bill with a second vote of 92-53.
"The theory would be in a representative chamber you're having full deliberation about the merits of the legislation and then you vote on the legislation," said Trinity University political science professor Dr. David Crockett. "So if you have a vote in the morning, and you change your mind a couple of hours later, that means you didn't really fully vet this piece of legislation. Fortunately, the legislative process is not a final one and you can go back and redo some things."
Wednesday afternoon, the House approved the bill with a final vote but added an amendment by Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-123, that would create a joint committee to look at other ways to replace the public education funding that comes from lottery sales, which is typically around $1 billion a year.
"When you see what happened in the last budget go around with the cuts in school funding because of the budget constraints, then that might send a message to people that this lottery money is not some end-all be-all solution to the problem," said Crockett.
Lottery funding for public education amounts to less than 2 percent of annual spending by districts across the state.
The bill now heads to the Senate.