The Virginia House defeated an attempt at lottery referendum legislation yesterday despite protests that lawmakers were insulting voters in an election year.

Del. J.W. (Billy) O'Brien (D-Virginia Beach) failed on a voice vote to amend a raffle bill to get his lottery legislation before the House. Earlier this session, the House General Laws Committee killed the same legislation.

"You tell voters , 'You had enough intelligence to put me up here, but you don't have enough sense to vote on this,' and you might have somebody else up here," O'Brien admonished the House.

The members did not pay much attention. Delegates milled about the chamber and carried on conversations during O'Brien's speech. At one point, Del. W.R. (Buster) O'Brien (R-Virginia Beach) held up a sign saying: "Go get 'em Billy."

O'Brien's bill would have allowed voters to decide in a referendum this November whether there should be a lottery such as the ones in Maryland and the District. He has unsuccessfully pushed the lottery bill for four consecutive years.

The bill O'Brien tried to amend passed. Sponsored by Sen. Clive L. DuVal (D-Fairfax), it would lift the $100,000 cap on raffles so Northern Virginia home builders can sell chances to a home for charity.