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In Reversal, House Reauthorizes Lottery Commission

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Andrea Lucia
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -  The Texas Lotto will live to see another day, after a nearly fatal attack on it by lawmakers.

In a surprise move, Tuesday, state representatives voted to effectively kill the Texas Lottery Commission, which oversees the Texas Lotto, scratch-off tickets, and charity bingo games.

Hours later, representatives reconsidered and passed the bill to re-authorize the commission.

The Commission was up for a vote as part of regular “sunset” procedures.  Every 12 years, government agencies must justify their existence before the legislature’s Sunset Advisory Committee.

The committee, which keeps government growth in check, recommended the Commission should be allowed to continue, and sent a re-authorization bill to lawmakers.

Both the House and Senate must approve a bill for the agency to continue its existence.  As the House was preparing to vote, though, Representative Scott Sanford, of McKinney, got up to speak.

“I thought this is simply the opportunity to share some statistics with folks and moral objections,” said Sanford.  “The lottery is an immoral tax on those who have the least means to pay it.”

With a sudden surge of support, the House voted 82 to 64 to defeat the bill.

The move caught the bill’s author, Rep. Rafael Anchia, of Dallas, by surprise.

“If the lottery commission is not continued, the lottery is no longer continued and charitable bingo also goes away. After that vote, the member who had voted against it, looked around and tried to figure out how they were going to replace 2.2 billion dollars from the public education budget and another 26 million dollars that go to veterans,” said Anchia.

Within hours, the House decided to reconsider, voting to pass the bill 92 to 53.

Representatives will take a third and final vote tomorrow.

The Senate will then also have to vote.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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