Three minutes before the state Legislature declared sine die, lawmakers were able to pass a solution to the Legislative Lottery Scholarship’s solvency issue.
The Senate concurred on Senate Bill 347, sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, just in time after the House passed the bill after an amendment this morning.
Through SB 347, the state would allot a one-time appropriation of $11 million in general fund for the lottery for fiscal year 2015 and would use $18.5 million from the state liquor excise tax funds for the following fiscal year. The bill also increases the credit-hour requirement of the lottery from 12 to 15 credit hours for students in four-year institutions.
Initially, SB 347 proposed that in case of insufficient funds, freshmen and sophomores would still be guaranteed a full-tuition amount of the scholarship, and juniors and seniors would received a pro-rated amount.
But as the bill reached the House floor Thursday morning, Rep. Jason Harper, R- Rio Rancho, initiated an amendment to have the bill pro-rate scholarship amounts in all year levels instead of just for upperclassmen in case of insufficient funds. The amendment passed in the House 41-25.
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