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State lottery debate hits big question: Are people dumb?

The debate on a bill to neuter the state lottery hinged on one question Wednesday as a House panel considered the measure. "Do you really think the people of North Carolina are dumb?" state Rep. Mickey Michaux asked. "What you are trying to do here is regulate people's actions."

Michaux, a Durham Democrat, meant it as a serious question and Republican Paul "Skip" Stam said he considered it a good one. "It's variable," said Stam, a lead sponsor. "Even the smartest person given false information will act in a different way."

The measure -- dubbed "The Honest Lottery Act", or HB156 -- is aimed at limiting the N.C. Education Lottery's advertising and games, which the bill sponsors consider misleading. Stam agreed to remove a provision to change the lottery's name to the N.C. State Lottery because it would cost $6 million to rebrand.

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