Sen. Jimmy Hickey filed his expected legislation yesterday to abolish the Arkansas Lottery Commission and make the division a part of the state Higher Education Department.
Leaders of the House and Senate and Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson are quoted warmly about the proposal in today’s Democrat-Gazette, which likely indicates swift passage.
There’s some irony in legislation to reshape the lottery by a senator who fought its efforts to expand the revenue pool through new types of games, as other states have done.
Here’s Hickey’s huge bill, which has plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. They include a powerful legislative oversight committee, which is in keeping with various structural changes that have made the legislature even more powerful than it already was relative to the governor. The bill continues to prohibit the lottery from competing with the two casinos in Arkansas in casino-style games.
Of more concern to me is Hickey’s other bill to make the dwindling pool of lottery scholarship money awarded on higher grade and college test score standards. This inevitably will make the scholarships disproportionately a benefit for more prosperous families likely college-bound in the first place and less likely to expand the number of people going to college, which was the nominal idea behind establishment of the lottery in the first place.