As Ohio readies itself to choose the first winners in its “Vax-a-Million” lottery Monday, one Republican state lawmaker is drafting a bill in opposition to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan.
State Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) is writing legislation that would ban the vaccination lottery, according to multiple reports. She does not think Ohioans should be bribed with taxpayer money.
“I have to look at the whole picture and I know you’ve had a difficult year but we can’t make the future more difficult and that’s what we’re looking at with this piece of legislation,” Powell reportedly said.
Her legislation, which she says will be drafted by the end of the week, would reduce the prize amount – currently set at $1 million – for future winners of the lottery, or do away with the lottery altogether and reallocate the funds for a grant program to small business owners who struggled through the pandemic.
There will be five drawings, totaling $5 million.
Powell believes that DeWine should simply give Ohioans their freedom back, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Powell said. “The vaccine lottery is a frivolous use of taxpayer dollars. They have the ability to take the vaccine if they want but we shouldn’t be putting $5-million of taxpayer money to a vaccine lottery.”
There will also be a drawing for young people ages 12 to 17 who have received the vaccine, which will allow them to go to college for free, including room and board costs.
But DeWine says the lottery is incentivizing residents to get vaccinated.
“We’ve seen a dramatic change in the number of people getting vaccinated in Ohio,” he said. Our ticket out of this pandemic is through vaccinations. We’re happy where we are but still a ways to go, and very happy with the increase we’ve seen since announcing the Vax-a-Million.”
The first drawing is Monday night, and the winner will be announced Wednesday. The Ohio Lottery is using a random number generator (RNG) to choose the winner.
“The RNG is a computer that is run by lottery security and observed by a representative from the state auditor’s office,” WBNS reported. “Staff will enter the number of entrants in a contest into the RNG, which will select a winning number. The RNG will also select several alternates for each drawing.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Vaccination Center” by New York National Guard CC 2.0 and photo “Jena Powell” by Sanders.sydney CC 4.0.