Proposed Constitutional Amendments
(Information provided by the League of Women Voters of Virginia)
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Amendment 1: Lottery Proceeds Fund
Question: Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to provide for a Lottery Proceeds Fund and the distribution of net lottery revenues to the localities to spend for public education purposes?
Full Text of Amendment
Amend the Constitution of Virginia by adding in Article X a section numbered 7-A as follows
�Article X Taxation and Finance
�Section 7-A. Lottery Proceeds Fund; distribution of lottery revenues
�The General Assembly shall establish the Lottery Proceeds Fund. The fund shall consist of the net revenues of any lottery conducted by the Commonwealth. Lottery proceeds shall be appropriated from the Fund to the Commonwealth�s counties, cities and towns, and the school divisions thereof, to be expended for the purposes of public education.
�Any county, city, or town which accepts a distribution from the fund shall provide its portion of the cost of maintaining and educational program meeting the standards of quality prescribed pursuant to Section 2 of Article VIII of this Constitution without the use of distributions from the Fund.
�The General Assembly shall enact such laws as may be necessary to implement the Fund and the provisions of this section.
Present Constitution and Background
After Virginia voters approved repeal of a constitutional ban on state-run lotteries, the General Assembly, in 1987, passed the law that established the present lottery system. Under the present State Lottery Law, the State Lottery Department runs the lottery. The lottery revenues are used as the General Assembly provides by law and in the biennial budget and appropriation acts.
Annual proceeds, after prize payments and administrative costs, have ranged from a low of $140 million in 1989 to a high of $342.5 million in 1997. The most recent turnover to the Commonwealth was $323.5 million in fiscal year 2000.
The Commonwealth has used lottery proceeds in different ways spelled out by the General Assembly by law and in the biennial budget and appropriation acts. Proceeds in 1989 were used for capital construction. From 1990 to 1998, the lottery proceeds were transferred to the commonwealth�s general fund. Starting in 1999, lottery proceeds were distributed to local public school divisions to be used solely for education purposes.
The proposed amendment requires the General Assembly to establish a Lottery Proceeds Fund where the Commonwealth must put the net revenues from any state-run lottery. Lottery proceeds in the Fund must be distributed to counties, cities, and towns, and their school divisions, to be spent locally for public education. The General assembly will no longer have the broad discretion it now has to appropriate the lottery profits for any public purpose.
The General Assembly will be able to appropriate money from the Fund only in exceptional cases. Four-fifths of the members voting in each house of the General Assembly must agree to appropriate lottery proceeds from the Fund in such an exceptional case.
The proposed amendment requires localities to use the Fund money appropriated to them for public education purposes. A locality that accepts a share of the lottery proceeds must maintain its local share of education expenses to meet the state standards of quality for school divisions, without using lottery proceeds to do so. The amendment also requires the General Assembly to pass laws necessary to establish the Fund and implement the new constitutional provision.
If the voters approve the proposed amendment, it will take effect July 1, 2001.
The League of women Voters of Virginia has no position for or against this proposed amendment.
This page was last revised on: December 28, 2003.