UPDATE: Mississippi House approves state lottery, bill headed to the Governor

in Lottery

JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) - Mississippi is one signature away from creating a state lottery.

Less than 24 hours after rejecting the proposal, the House voted to send it to the Governor.

WJTV 12's Gerald Harris brings us reaction from the Capitol.

Today is nothing short of historic. A bill failed Monday night with a chunk of Republicans voting in the no column. Then - today, the House reversed itself and sent the bill to the Governor.

Speaker Philip Gunn says he's disappointed the lottery passed. The author of the bill, Senator Philip Moran is elated.

"Obviously I'm disappointed because I was against it from the beginning. I think it's bad policy and I've said that repeatedly. But I was also asked to let the process and work and I did and this was the result."

"We've been working on this bill for several years now and um, we think it's going to have a very positive impact on our state."

Lawmakers hope the lottery will generate enough money to fix roads and bridges. Once revenues reach $80 million or the lottery has been in place ten years, monies will be redirected to education.

Language in the bill allows for a private corporation to run the lottery with appointed board members.

The Governor responded to news of the passage in a Tweet.  @PhilBryantMS  This is a historic day in Mississippi. Lawmakers rose to the occasion and passed the last part of a sustainable infrastructure funding mechanism that will also provide additional money for public education.

The Mississippi House reversed course and voted to pass a bill creating a state lottery. 

This time the bill passed 58 to 54. No word on why a number of members who voted to kill the bill just last night, decided to change their minds.

Many members have been long-time supporters of a lottery, but only if it was used to fund education.

In this iteration of the bill, revenue from the lottery will go toward infrastructure for ten years or until $80-million is reached. At that point, monies will be redirected toward education.

The bill will go to Gov. Phil Bryant, who is expected to sign it into law.