A lottery scholarship trifecta played out at the Legislature this morning, and all came in winners.
The Senate approved SB 355 on a 25–16 vote. This bill allows the use of new technology as well as debit cards in lottery sales, which bill sponsor Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming) argues is needed to regain market share.
The bill had caused some heartburn as it eliminated the provision that provides 30 percent of gross revenues for the lottery scholarship tuition fund. But those fears were allayed somewhat with a new provision that says the minimum to be transferred to the tuition fund each year must be equal to the total amount transferred in FY15. That’s on the north side of $43 million. That bill now heads to the House.
Going to the Senate is SB 286, sponsored by Sen. Michael Sanchez (D-Belen), which sends forfeited lottery prizes to the tuition fund. Senate Finance approved that bill, hearing that lottery forfeitures average $3 million each year.
Meanwhile, House Education approved HM 93, a memorial sponsored by Rep. Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho) that mandates a study into the feasibility of year-round lottery scholarships. Lots of support came from institutions who say this will speed up time to graduation.
Regarding another issue of interest, the Senate approved SB 255, which allows UNM-Valencia to build an off-campus center on donated land west of I-25. That bill now heads to the House.