(8/30/05) After 20 years of discussion, North Carolina lawmakers have finally passed a state-run lottery to benefit education. The state Senate debated Tuesday afternoon, then was deadlocked in a 24-24 vote. Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue, the Senate's presiding officer, cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the lottery. Two Republican senators who had opposed the lottery earlier were absent for Tuesday's vote. Senators Harry Brown of Onslow County and Robert Garwood of Wilkes County both received excused absences. Garwood is recovering at home from a leg infection, while Brown is on his honeymoon. The House approved the same bill in April by two votes. The Senate vote means the bill now goes to Governor Easley's desk. He's been seeking a lottery since taking office in 2001. Lottery bills had been heard around the Legislature since the 1980s. Since then, North Carolina's neighbors had started lotteries, as had the rest of the East Coast.