LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to abolish the state Lottery Commission and make the lottery part of the executive branch of government.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to abolish the state Lottery Commission and make the lottery part of the executive branch of government.


Also Wednesday, lawmakers advanced bills to prohibit cities and counties from passing anti-discrimination ordinances and require that a doctor be physically present when an abortion-inducing drug is administered.


With no debate, the Senate voted 34-0 to approve Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, which would put the lottery under the control of the state Department of Finance and Administration. The bill goes to the House.


Hickey told reporters he was not surprised by the level of support the measure received in the Senate.


"I think everybody realizes the situation we’re in and understands the importance of correcting it," he said.


Hickey has argued that making the lottery part of the executive branch would put the state in a better position to reverse declining lottery revenues for college scholarships. The lottery, created in 2009 under a constitutional amendment Arkansas voters approved in 2008, currently operates under the control of a nine-member commission that is independent from the executive branch.


Elsewhere Wednesday, the House City, County and Local Affairs Committee voted 12-6 to give a "do pass" recommendation to SB 202 by Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, which would bar cities and counties from approving protections from discrimination on any basis not in state law. The bill, which passed previously in the Senate, goes next to the House.


Hester has said the bill would prevent cities and counties from passing ordinances like one the Fayetteville City Council adopted last summer that included prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public services. Fayetteville voters repealed the ordinance in December.


Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, presented the bill Wednesday in committee.


"The debate should be handled up here. It shouldn’t be handled in each little municipality," Ballinger said after the vote.


Opponents of the bills say it seeks to protect discrimination against gays.


In the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee, members endorsed SB 53 by Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain Home, and House Bill 1076 by Rep. Julie Mayberry, R-Hensley, in voice votes. The two matching bills would require that when an abortion-inducing drug is administered, the doctor who prescribed or dispensed the drug must be physically present in the room with the patient.


The bill seeks to prevent the practice of conducting chemical abortions via Internet linkup, which is not currently available in Arkansas.


"I think it’s a reasonable bill that looks after the safety of the mother," Irvin said after the votes.


Opponents of the bills say they seek to restrict a woman’s right to an abortion. The bills go to the Senate.


The Senate public health panel also rejected SB 273 by Irvin, which would prohibit the state from employing a model in which doctors receive reimbursement for episodes of care — the objective of the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative initiated by former Gov. Mike Beebe. The bill failed in a 4-4 vote.


The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed SB 156 by Hester, which would make it a misdemeanor for a person 18 or older to distribute sexual images of a family or household member or a person from a past or current relationship in order to harass, frighten, intimidate, threaten or abuse the victim.


The bill originally did not contain an age limit and would have applied in situations where the intent was to embarrass a person, but the committee endorsed the bill Wednesday with an amendment by Hester that added a requirement that the perpetrator be at least 18 and removed the word "embarrass."


The bill goes to the Senate.


Also Wednesday, the Senate gave a round of applause to welcome Greg Standridge of Russellville, who won a Republican primary for the Senate seat that became vacant when Michael Lamoureaux resigned to become Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff and transition director.


No Democrat filed to run for the seat. Standridge said Wednesday it is unclear whether he can be sworn in before the session ends.


The Senate also voted 33-1 to concur in House Concurrent Resolution 1004 by House Speaker Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia. The resolution calls for the regular business of the session to end April 10 and for formal adjournment to occur on May 8. The House approved the resolution on Monday.


Senators voted 34-0 to approve HB 1002 by Rep. Warwick Sabin, D-Little Rock, which would give the state Ethics Commission authority to issue advisory opinions regarding new ethics restrictions that voters approved in November. The bill passed previously in the House and now goes to the governor.