By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
April 12, 2013
The N.C. House passed the Honest Lottery Act on Thursday, with a goal of ensuring that bettors taking part in the state sponsored gambling have more accurate information before purchasing a ticket.
“Advertising that states a total of payments to be paid over time must also state the present value of the prize,” said House Majority Leader Paul Stam (Wake) as he explained one provision of the bill. He said if the so-called Education Lottery were subject to Federal Trade Commission rules on advertising it would have already been shut down “because it is systematic misrepresentation to the people.”
In addition to rules regarding advertising the size of the prize, the bill would require ads to include accurate information about odds of winning and would prohibit advertising at high school or college events. It would also require the University of North Carolina to develop a curriculum teaching the mathematical principles of odds and probability and making it available to school systems.
Further, the bill would not allow lottery ads to mention the role of accountants or auditors.
“We don’t want to give potential bettors the idea that just because an accountant is there that the whole operation is on the up and up, because the operation as a whole is a scam,” Stam said.
Admitting that his decision to support the creation of a state lottery some seven years ago may have been the worst vote he’s ever cast during his tenure in the General Assembly, Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) rallied for the Honest Lottery Act though he said his reasoning differed, in some degree, from Stam’s.
“I think the (Lottery) Commission has done an incredibly good job at doing what we’ve asked them to do,” he said, but added that it was not the right thing.
“We need to create advertising that gives the full picture,” he said. “… To rely on a form of gambling and to rely on our population wanting to increase their ability to gamble as a way to fund the schools strikes me simply as a spiritually and morally bad position.”
Rep. Bert Jones (R-Caswell) told House members that the state should be “straightforward and honest with our citizens,” while Rep. Jeff Collins (R-Franklin) said the bill was all about transparency. Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus) said he wished the bill went further to repeal the lottery or at least end all radio and television ads. He supported it nonetheless as did 99 of the 111 representatives voting on Thursday. The bill is headed to the Senate.
“We agree wholeheartedly with Rep. Pittman’s assessment that gambling is a ‘rejection of godly principles of stewardship and a mutual attempt to steal from one another,’” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “But in the absence of a bill that would put an end to the lottery, we certainly support this one that will make it a bit more honest. We urge the Senate to follow the House‘s lead.”
The Christian Action League also supports Lily’s Law (S-17) and House Joint Resolution 599, “Supporting Prayer Week in North Carolina,” both of which won approval in the House this week.
Named for an Alamance County infant who was shot in utero, born alive and later died, Lily’s Law would codify the common law that makes it murder when a child is injured in the womb, born and later dies from the injury.
After hearing the story of Lily Grace Broome, whose father shot her in the womb, the House passed its version of the bill unanimously sending it back to the Senate for concurrence. Rep. Stephen Ross (R-Alamance), who explained the bill, said Broome’s father had been having an affair and wasn’t happy when he found out his wife was pregnant with their second child. After some time he pulled a gun on her, shot her in the stomach and then let her lie on the floor for hours before finally getting help. His daughter lived a few days before succumbing to her injuries. He was charged and convicted of murder.
“This bill just clarifies the law showing that just because a child is born alive doesn’t mean that injuries sustained in the womb are somehow discounted,” said Dr. Creech. “Murder is murder whether initiated before or after a baby’s birth.”
Week of Prayer
In other Legislative news, the House passed a Joint Resolution supporting Governor Pat McCrory’s proclamation of a Week of Prayer from April 28 through May 4, in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer set for the first Thursday in May.
In his introduction of the bill, Rep. Jones traced the history of prayer in America, from Christopher Columbus through the Jamestown and Plymouth settlements to George Washington, the first Continental Congress, Abraham Lincoln and beyond.
“This nation and state have been bathed in prayer,” he said, reminding fellow House members that as Americans we believe our rights are “from God, not the king, not the government.”
The resolution not only encourages North Carolinians to turn to God in prayer and supports the Governor’s proclamation, it also honors the memory of President George Washington for his role in establishing a mandate that would pave the way for a national Day of Prayer.
“We were thrilled to see this bill win unanimous approval and urge Christians to take this to heart and to pray for our state and nation not only during this special week, but continually,” said the Rev. Creech.
Finally, in the Senate on Thursday, lawmakers passed S 470, “No Beer/Wine if Permit Revoked.”
Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) described the measure as “a very narrow scope bill that applies to businesses that have had their ABC permits revoked or suspended.” She said a problem had arisen in Greensboro in that a week or so after having their licenses to serve alcohol suspended or revoked, businesses were reopening and offering brown-bagging.
“All this will do is prohibit that brown bagging when the license is suspended or revoked,” she said. The bill passed 46 to 0 and is headed to the House.