Originally created 06/03/01

S.C. lottery hang-up

The main snag holding up a compromise between House and Senate conferees on implementing the voter-approved South Carolina lottery is who will appoint the commission that will run the games.

The lower chamber's bill calls for the House, Senate and governor to make three appointments each. The Senate bill, more reflective of what Gov. Jim Hodges proposes (and what he campaigned on last November), would have the governor name five lottery commissioners and the House and Senate two each.

Once the appointment hang-up is resolved, says Speaker Pro Tem Doug Smith, R-Spartanburg, the other points of contention, including restrictions on advertising and a ban on Sunday ticket sales favored by the House, can probably be worked out.

So this weekend Senate conferee Tommy Moore, D-Clearwater, is trying to come up with a new compromise that will be satisfactory to the House. That's a tall order, because the Senate is right on the merits of the issue.

Moore says Democrats want the governor responsible for majority of the appointees; he's the one who'll be held accountable for how well, or badly, the lottery commission carries out its duties.

He's right. It would be ridiculous for the Legislature to have the stronger appointive power when it's the governor who answers to all the voters, not House and Senate members - and that will still be true if a Republican succeeds Hodges.

Hence, there's no reason why the appointive issue should be partisan. Just let fairness and common sense prevail.


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