Oklahoma lottery funds still tied up

Thursday, March 17th 2005, 6:06 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- State legislators say they're trying to work out legal problems that have kept them from providing a $500,000 emergency appropriation to the new Oklahoma Education Lottery Commission.

Stillwater state Senator Mike Morgan says the state question adopted by voters last fall bars the use of General Revenue Fund money for lottery purposes and requires that the lottery be a self-sustaining operation.

Morgan held out hope that the state Senate could act on the funding before adjourning Thursday for the weekend.

Earlier, House Appropriations Chairman Chris Benge said lawmakers were considering language that would allow an appropriation to the commission, but require the panel to pay back the money.

Governor Brad Henry requested the $500,000 supplemental appropriation in his executive budget.

Office of State Finance Director Scott Meacham says a delay in getting funding to the new agency could stymie plans to have scratch-on lottery tickets up for sale this fall.