Think New Mexico’s bipartisan legislation to increase the accountability of the state lottery and send more lottery dollars to scholarships was introduced during the 2017 legislative session by Representative Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho) and Representative Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque). House Bill 250 passed two House committees unanimously, passed the House with only a single dissenting vote, and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. Unfortunately, it was never brought up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.
Meanwhile, another bill was pushed by the multinational gaming corporations that contract with the lottery to remove the lottery’s accountability to students and reduce the dollars going to scholarships. Senate Bill 192 would have repealed Think New Mexico’s 2007 reform law requiring the lottery to deliver at least 30% of revenues to the scholarship fund.
Think New Mexico fought Senate Bill 192 at every step of its journey through the legislative process, and the final showdown came late on the final night of the session when the bill was brought up for a vote of the full House. Legislators from both parties spoke out against jeopardizing the lottery scholarship fund, and Representative Harper successfully amended all the provisions of House Bill 250 into Senate Bill 192, which meant that the bill had to go back to the Senate for senators to approve those amendments. The Senate did not bring the bill up for consideration before the session concluded, so the bill was defeated and the scholarship fund will continue to receive the full 30% of lottery revenues going forward.
Learn more about this issue and how you can get involved.