One of my staff members, Josh Mesker, had a chance to talk with Sen. Sue Madison (D-Fayetteville) today. She has been the center of much attention recently concerning her controversial new proposal—repeal the lottery legislation.
“I admit being at fault,” said Sen. Madison on the phone. For a little background, she voted against the lottery amendment at the ballot box last November, but became a Senate co-sponsor of the lottery enabling legislation.
Sen. Madison went on to explain to Josh how she wishes the legislature had discussed the lottery further once the time came to implement it. It was clear that she didn’t like the direction the lottery was going—citing the high salaries of lottery staff that have been a primary reason why public support has fallen. Also on her mind was how the lottery will have a negative impact on families, especially those struggling to make ends meet. This is a concern Family Council has as well.
To encourage the legislature to discuss the lottery, Sen. Madison has filed an Interim Study Proposal for the Legislative Council to review on August 21. This proposal, if approved, would repeal the lottery enabling legislation sponsored by House Speaker Robbie Wills (D-Conway) and Sen. Terry Smith (D-Hot Springs). Though there is likely to be many opinions on whether this is the proper course of action, I applaud Sen. Madison for filing such a proposal. Most Arkansans are now aware that the lottery legislation was bad from the start, so repealing it makes sense.
One of the main arguments I’ve heard is that repealing the lottery legislation would “go against the will of the people.” This is a shaky argument at best, particularly since Madison’s proposal would not repeal the constitutional amendment that voters passed; the legislature doesn’t have the power to do this, anyway. Now, more than ever, it seems that the will of the people is to start over since the lottery continues to spiral out of control.
If you support Sen. Sue Madison and want to see the lottery enabling legislation repealed, give her a call at 479-442-2997 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It never ceases to amaze me how some issues make “strange bedfellows”—apparently Sen. Madison even recognized this on the phone—but sometimes, doing the right thing becomes so clear, even those typically opposed to each other politically can agree. I’m proud of any legislator who is willing to take a stand when no one else will, and this time, Sen. Madison is that legislator.