A Colorado Senate bill aimed at diverting state lottery funds to veterans programs was voted down in committee on Monday.
Conservation advocates and the Pitkin County commissioners had opposed the bill, because lottery dollars fund open space and conservation programs. The bill would have put a measure on the November ballot creating a new scratch-off ticket to fund veterans programs, and changed the distribution of lottery proceeds.
Much of state lottery cash goes to the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) fund, which has given more than $10 million to Aspen-area trail projects and open space purchases in recent years.
“I am happy that the existing allocations of the state lottery are safe for now,” county open space director Dale Will said via e-mail Tuesday.
The bill had passed the Senate’s Veterans and Military Affairs committee by a 3-2 vote last week. But on Monday, Sen. Kevin Grantham — a Republican from Cañon City — changed his vote and opposed the measure, during a procedural vote to send the bill to the Senate Finance Committee.
His “no” vote killed the bill.
During last week’s hearing, representatives from the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts gave two hours of testimony, asking to preserve lottery distributions as they stand.
Greg Yankee, policy director for the coalition, told supporters in an e-mail after the hearing that the three committee votes in favor of the bill had been “incredibly reluctant.”