MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Senator Jim McClendon (R- Springville) held a press conference Tuesday to unveil new legislation to allow residents to vote on a lottery.
Senator McClendon's lottery proposal, which is separate from Governor Robert Bentley's, will be introduced during the upcoming special session slated to begin on Aug 15.
McClendon's lottery plan would raise $427 million annually, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office. The senator said his proposal will address the issues created by Medicaid's $85 million budget shortfall for 2017, and it would generate $100 million annually for public schools.
"For thousands of families and children, the Medicaid budget shortfall is a personal crisis that we must solve now," McClendon said. "This lottery proposal will resolve the Medicaid problem and inject $100 million annually in new funding for our classrooms."
The Springville legislator's bill would authorize the governor to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians, allow electronic lottery terminals in Birmingham and Mobile, as well as in Macon and Greene counties.
McClendon said during his news conference he wanted to "dispel a persistent myth: creating a lottery will not open the door to casino gaming. There is not one single instance in the United States where creating a lottery opened the door to legalizing gambling."
The lottery plan would also create a bond issue based on expected revenue from the lottery, according to the senator, of which the estimated $75-85 million in proceeds would take care of Medicaid.
A proposal could be put to a vote of the Alabama people, but it must be approved by Aug. 24 to make it onto the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
Gov. Bentley's lottery proposal would send the proceeds to the General Fund.