McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State news

March 8, 2013

Okla. House more lottery funds for mental health

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House has passed legislation to increase the amount of unclaimed state lottery prize money that's distributed to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The House voted 84-5 for the bill on Thursday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

The bill by Rep. Gary Banz of Midwest City increases distribution of unclaimed lottery prize money to the mental health agency from the first $500,000 to the first $1.5 million. It requires the next $2.5 million to go to the Board of Education for public schools.

Banz says the mental health agency needs additional funds to help problem gamblers — but Rep. Mike Reynolds of Oklahoma City says the bill sends an inconsistent message about gambling and mental health.

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