I warned folks to pay attention to the wheelings and dealings of the Tennessee General Assembly now that they're back in session, and here's the first nutcase to step up to the plate.
Senator Jim Summerville (R-Dickson) has filed a bill that would require the state's lottery corporation to post warning signs at all lottery retailers and on all lottery ads and billboards letting potential customers know (gasp!) they'll probably lose money if they play the lottery.
Summerville opposed lottery sales in Tennessee before it was approved by voters several years ago, and since then he's proposed laws to ban all advertising for the Tennessee Lottery, none of which have made it out of committee.
Now he's taking a different approach, one that he says would simply let potential lottery customers know the odds are stacked against them. He wants all lottery ads to include this notice:
"Warning: You will probably lose money playing the lottery."
Summerville reasons that since we post warnings on cigarette labels, we should do the same for lottery tickets and their ads.
Each lottery ticket and retailer currently advises customers to "Play responsibly"... (which reminds me to tell you about my idea for a new brand of beer, named, you guessed it, "RESPONSIBLY". Can't you just see it now? Every other beer maker would have to tell their customers to "Drink Responsibly" in all of their ads! Damn, I'm brilliant sometimes...)
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, which runs the lottery here, has had no comment on Summerville's bill. According to the story in this morning's The Tennessean (motto: "Bringing the news of your elected cranks to your driveway puddle daily!") the lottery spends about $13 million annually in ads, while bringing in $1.31 billion in sales.
Summerville is very specific about his warning label for billboards, saying he wants each to contain the warning in foot-high letters across the lottery ad.
In the past he's called the lottery immoral, corrupt, and a source of "tainted money".
I wonder if he has a problem with the Publisher's Clearinghouse drawings. We got our pamphlet of crap in the mail from those folks yesterday...