MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama House of Representatives narrowly approved Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposed state lottery Thursday night after 10 hours of contentious debate and two vote attempts.
Legislators clapped and cheered as the bill passed shortly before midnight on a 64-35 vote, exceeding the 63 votes required to pass the chamber. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate where senators must decide whether to go along with mostly minor House changes to the legislation.
The Republican governor, seeking to end the Deep South state’s historic opposition to gambling as a revenue source, proposed a lottery as a way to provide money to the state’s perpetually cash-strapped Medicaid program. Alabama would become the 45th state with a lottery if lawmakers and voters approve the idea.