ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Students from the University of New Mexico plan to make their way to Santa Fe Tuesday and explain to legislators why they should vote down House Bill 147.
“We are trying to talk to as many legislators as we can,” said Noah Brooks, UNM Student Body President.
In 2007, lawmakers passed a bill that became law when Gov. Bill Richardson signed off on it. It required the New Mexico Lottery to give 30 percent of what it makes to the Lottery Scholarship program each year.
Critics maintained they needed that money to advertise and increase prizes that would, in return, grow lottery sales which were falling.
Now, HB 147, sponsored by Rep. James Smith, would reverse the mandate lawmakers put into place nearly 10 years ago.
“The lottery foundation is trying to take more money from the lottery scholarship and use it for themselves,” Brooks said.
If it passes, the lottery would be required to give $38 million a year to the scholarship program instead of 30 percent of its revenue.
Lottery officials say, “by alleviating the mandate, the Lottery will be able to put more prizes in games, in turn increasing sales and thus increasing dollars for students.”
UNM students, like Brooks, disagree.
“The biggest issue that I see is that they’re spending all this money toward lobbying the legislature when they could be using that money for advertising and things they say they want to do,” he said.
There is a “safety net” in the bill that would require the lottery to return to the 30 percent mandate if they can’t come up with $38 million a year.