JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi senators have passed a bill to create a state lottery, spending proceeds on state highways for at least 10 years.
The Senate voted 30-20 on Thursday to approve Senate Bill 2001. The measure moves to the House for more debate.
Passage came after hours of debate which largely questioned the freedom that the Legislature would give to the Mississippi Lottery Corp, exempting it from bid laws, open meetings laws and open records laws.
Committee Chairman Willie Simmons, a Cleveland Democrat, says the lottery is projected to provide about $40 million to the state in its first year and about $80 million in later years.
Some senators opposed the lottery on moral or economic grounds. Sen. Hob Bryan says government shouldn't "operate a numbers racket and swindle its citizens." Some supporters, though, say their constituents want a lottery, even if the senators personally oppose it.
The lottery corporation would be governed by a five-member board appointed by the governor. The board would hire a president of the corporation, subject to the governor's veto.