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House votes to renew Texas Lottery Commission

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TEXAS (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - In a brief – very brief – victory for opponents of the lottery, the Texas House voted against renewing the Texas Lottery Commission, a move that could have killed the lottery. After an afternoon break, however, the Commission was renewed by a later vote.

That means the lottery will remain in place, for now.

"We had the votes," says state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler. "We won the first round. I guess certain people felt pressure, maybe even traded some votes. But we lost."

The House was taking an otherwise-routine vote on the continuation of the Commission when a majority of House members signaled their unwillingness to continue the lottery.

"This disproportionately affects poor people, and it's not the proper role of government to be engaged in the gambling business," Schaefer said. "Another argument is that it funds education. Well, we can find more appropriate ways to fund education than to prey upon people who aren't very good with math."

State Rep. Brian Hughes, R-Mineola, said the vote wasn't planned.

"It wasn't a coordinated effort, but a majority of us don't like the lottery, and don't think it's a good way to raise money," Hughes said. "So 81 of us made that vote, and voted to end the lottery."

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, agreed that the lottery has been a disappointment.

"A lot of us have felt the lottery wasn't serving its intended purpose," Flynn said. "It was supposed to boost education funding, and it's never done that. It's become nothing more than a tax on those with low incomes. We do want to see that bingo stays in, because that helps our veterans and helps some churches. But we'll see what happens."

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