Governor Brad Henry urges state lawmakers Monday to move forward on the question of a state lottery.
Last week, the governor's lottery bill passed by a single vote out of committee. Now he's trying to gain support for the measure on the floor of the house. News on Six anchor Scott Thompson says before Oklahomans can consider a statewide lottery, lawmakers will have to ante up.
"All I ask the legislature to do is let the people vote.â€ Governor Brad Henry is trying to drum up support for his plan to send the lottery to a vote of the people. The governor says the lottery could be an education jackpot, with the state cashing in on $300-million each year. The money would pay for everything from college scholarships to teacher's salaries to early childhood programs. "Ya'know the current budget situation as you well know continues to worsen and I think that underscores more than ever the need to let the people vote on the lottery."
The governor says he's not trying to break new ground. He says the legislature has a history of putting important issues, like right to work and the tobacco trust fund, on the ballot for the people to decide. â€œIn my view it is always a political plus to take the side of the people and put your confidence in the intelligence of the people of this great state."
Henry's not betting on a lottery to solve all of the state's education problems, but he says the money could help. â€œThis is one of the few ways and I believe the most feasible way to inject significant new dollars into education in the foreseeable future.â€
The governor's lottery bill is up for debate in the house this week. Although he wouldn't give any details, Governor Henry says he's shy only a few votes. But he's confident the measure will pass.