UPDATE: The Texas House reversed itself this afternoon and agreed to reauthorize the Lottery Commission. That will preserve the Texas Lottery.
In a completely surprising move, the Texas House voted today to abolish the Texas Lottery.
The House rejected a measure to reauthorize the Texas Lottery Commission was voted down 82-64, as member after member described the Lottery as a 'de-facto tax on the poor.'
The reauthorization, which is required under the state Sunset Laws, was expected to be automatic, and a stunned Speaker Joe Straus reminded lawmakers that if the Lottery Commission doesn't exist, the lottery cannot operate.
This measure is far from the end of this matter. The House is expected to reconsider its vote, and the Senate is not likely to go along.
State Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) pointed out that if the lottery goes away, so does the $2.2 billion the lottery provides for public education every two year budget cycle.
"Those dollars are gone at this moment," Turner said.
Today's vote does not effect the Texas Lottery immediately. Even if the vote is rubber stamped by the Senate and signed by Governor Perry, which is unlikely, no changes would happen until September.
The Texas Lottery was approved by the Legislature in 1991.