Lottery bill hits hang up

By David Arkin

A bill that would allow more students to access the Lottery Scholarship may be in trouble.
Legislation that would permit students who graduate from high school to sit out a year before going to college and still qualify for the popular Lottery Scholarship may get stuck in committee, according to its sponsor.
Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, said his bill, which was approved unanimously by the House last week, may never be considered by the Senate.
“It’s looking a little dim right now,” Moore said.
The bill was assigned to three Senate committees on Monday, almost assuring that it wouldn’t make it to the Senate floor before the session ends on Thursday.
“I knew we would have some opposition to this,” Moore said.
The bill is now expected to have to be heard by three Senate committees — education, judiciary and finance.
Sen. Michael Sanchez, D-Valencia, who has killed similar changes to the scholarship in the past, sits on the Senate’s judiciary committee.
“Michael … wants to see it,” Moore said. “I think it should come to the floor for debate. It would be better that way instead of just tabling it.”
Sanchez couldn’t be reached for comment on the issue Monday.
Critics of the bill say that allowing more students access to the scholarship could put the revenues of the scholarship in jeopardy.
Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, opposes changes that the bill would make to the scholarship.
“My experience is that once you open something like that up and change it you never stop changing it,” Ingle said. “I would like to keep the law the way that it is.”
Moore said bills getting stuck in committees are just part of the political process in Santa Fe.
“My first year up here it took me a week to figure out what happened and then a week to then find out why it happened,” he said. “In a 30-day session it’s hard to get controversial things done.”