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Modest lottery reform shot down by strange coalition

It was far from the most important bill of the 2009 session, but it was still disappointing to see House Bill 1289 go down in the state Senate last night. The bill was a simple, bipartisan effort to prevent check cashing shops (a low end industry that serves some of the state’s least well-off and most vulnerable citizens) from selling lottery tickets. Rep. Pricey Harrison, the bill’s chief House sponsor, deserves great credit for pushing the bill (and the issue) out into the light and forcing lawmakers to confront one of the darker underbellies of the state’s numbers racket.

Though last night’s vote was not unexpected, the final vote (20 “ayes,” 23 “noes” and 7 “excused absences”) does make for interesting reading. It was particularly interesting to see some of the most vociferous conservative moralizers in the Senate (folks like Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger and frequent social right spokesperson, Senator James Forrester) voting “no” with the gamblin’, taxin’, usurers.

Here’s the final roll call:

Ayes: Senator(s): Allran; Bingham; Blake; Blue; Boseman; Brock; Brown; Clodfelter; Dannelly; Davis; Dorsett; Garrou; Goodall; Hartsell; Jacumin; Kinnaird; Shaw; Soles; Stein; Weinstein.

Noes: Senator(s): Albertson; Apodaca; Atwater; Basnight; Berger, D.; Berger, P.; Brunstetter; Clary; East; Foriest; Forrester; Goss; Hoyle; Hunt; Jenkins; McKissick; Rand; Rouzer; Rucho; Snow; Swindell; Tillman; Vaughan.

Excused absence: Senator(s): Graham; Jones; Nesbitt; Preston; Purcell; Queen; Stevens.

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