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Bill Seeks to Resolve Legal Questions over Mega Millions

13 July 2005

Las Vegas Sun

SACRAMENTO -- Hoping to head off a legal battle, a state senator on Tuesday announced a proposal that would settle questions about the legality of California's entry into a multistate lottery game.

Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, said he hoped his measure would keep the state out of legal "hot water" in a dispute over the 12-state Mega Millions game.

Gambling opponents filed a lawsuit last week attempting to shut down the game, which is in its third week of operation in California. They said an initiative voters passed 21 years ago to create the lottery does not explicitly allow the Lottery Commission to join an interstate game.

The attorney general's office and the Legislature's lawyers have issued conflicting legal advice on the matter.

"The purpose of the bill is to give some certainty to something where we should have been certain from day one," Florez said.

Florez's bill was introduced Monday as an amended version of a previous Senate Bill dealing with high school technical education. It would give the commission the ability to enter a multistate lottery agreement as long as the games are not played internationally and do not involve slot machines or Internet gambling.

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