The Texas Lottery Commission won't be abolished after all.
Undoing a stunning earlier vote that jeopardized the lottery, the House on Tuesday reversed itself and reauthorized the Lottery Commission.
Lawmakers had voted not to reauthorize the commission through September 2025 - potentially costing the state more than $2 billion in lottery revenue.
During a subsequent lunch recess, however, lawmakers were urged to reconsider by party leadership.
They eventually did, and the commission was reauthorized on a second vote. Without reauthorization, the commission would have wound down and ceased to exist by September 2014.
Representative Kyle Kacal for District 12 sent the following statement:
"When initially voting on HB 2197, I felt like it was an appropriate opportunity to vote my concerns with a state operated gambling system. However, after the motion to reconsider and weighing the impact of the $2.2 billion dollars that would create a significant gap in our state's budget, remove a portion of education funding, and would greatly impact the countless charities and non-profits, I reversed my vote."
Representative Jimmie Don Aycock told the Texas Tribune that he originally voted "no" largely to make clear his opposition to gambling.
Later he said "I don't like gambling, but I do like school funding…It was, for me, at least, a signal vote. I sort of anticipated I would switch that vote when I made it."
The state budget already under consideration in the Legislature has factored in $1.04 billion annually to public schools from the lottery.
If that had disappeared, it would have created a deficit lawmakers would have had to fill.