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Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed HB 620 & 671, Representative Denny Hoskins’ (r – noun, verb, CPA) favorite bingo bill today. Governor Nixon’s veto letter [pdf] included the following explanation:

…House Committee Substitute for House Bill Nos. 620 & 671 will reduce proceeds to the Bingo Proceeds for Education Fund by approximately $2.2 million annually. This reduction in education funding will have significant negative fiscal impact on the Missouri Schools for the Deaf, Blind, and severely Disabled.

In addition, the fiscal year 2010 budget appropriates $300,000 from the Bingo Proceeds for education Fund to the University of Missouri for planning and design of a new Nursing and Optometry School on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and $300,000 to the University of Missouri for planning and design for a new Nursing/Health Professions School on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In light of current fiscal conditions, this reduction to education funding cannot be absorbed.

In addition, House Committee Substitute for House Bill Nos. 620 & 671 authorizes the use of “electronic bingo card monitoring devices.” The bill fails to define this term, an ambiguity which could lead to uncertain future interpretation. The lack of a specific definition could lead to a significant expansion of gaming activities in the state…

[emphasis added]

There’s a certain irony that the House member bestowed with the bogus “Freshman Legislator of the Year for Higher Education” award by his republican colleagues (they hand out these fake awards like candy on Halloween) doing his darnedest to cut funding for higher education.

But, there’s more. Representative Hoskins was so upset that he immediately issued a press release, complete with quotes. I wonder if he had ’em all lined up and ready to go? Just asking. The press release:

PRESS RELEASE

Missouri House of Representatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2009

CONTACT: Rep. Denny Hoskins…

Governor Nixon Vetoes Bill to Help Warrensburg Veterans Home

Jefferson City – Governor Nixon vetoed HB 620/671 today, commonly referred to as the Bingo Bill.  The house bill sponsored by Rep. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, and carried in the senate by Senator Pearce, R-Warrensburg, would have helped not-for-profit organizations continue to host bingo games and provide financial support to their local communities.

Under Missouri law, only not-for-profit organizations such as the American Legion, VFW, Eagles, Elks, etc. can operate bingo games.  Among the potential changes to the laws governing bingo, the bill would have increased the number of days that bingo halls could host games.  Halls with full licenses would have been allowed to host games twice a week.  In addition, the bill would have eliminated the collection of state taxes on bingo cards.  The sponsoring not-for-profit organizations use the revenues from bingo games for activities in their local communities.

Rep. Hoskins worked with David Tackett, who runs the Bingo games at the Warrensburg American Legion, to draft the bill.

“I’m very disappointed in the Governor’s decision,” commented Mr. Tackett. “Passage of this bill would have provided approximately $7,000 more for us to use for local projects such as the Warrensburg Veterans Home, American Legion baseball fields and parking lot, Big Brothers Big Sisters and sponsorships for Missouri’s Boy’s State and Girl’s State programs. As the number of bingo licensees decline, our local communities and the programs we support will suffer.”

Revenues from the state taxes collected on bingo cards have seen a significant decrease since 1995.  In fiscal year 2009, the State of Missouri collected approximately $2.0 million in state bingo taxes compared to $3.9 million in 1995.  The number of bingo licensee operators has also decreased from over 900 licensees in 1995 to 367 licensees this past year.

“Per my discussion with the Missouri Gaming Commission, proceeds to the State of Missouri from casino gaming were up 4% this past year.  This would have been more than enough to offset the state bingo taxes,” stated Rep. Hoskins. “I definitely disagree with the Governor’s decision to veto my bill.  My dad always says ‘A Hoskins’ never gives up.’  Without a doubt, I’ll be in discussions with House and Senate leadership about the possibility of overriding Governor Nixon’s veto.  We need to pass this legislation to support our veterans and local community programs.”

[emphasis added to title]

On one hand $7,000 for local charities – on the other hand “…significant negative fiscal impact on the Missouri Schools for the Deaf, Blind, and severely Disabled…” I’m thinking it over.

So, Representative Hoskins claims he’s a friend of veterans? Not so fast, he voted against HB 492 in committee:

Missouri House Veterans Committee Shoots Down Support for Reservists

by: Brandon Friedman

Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 09:15:00 AM EDT

A few months ago, we wrote about the military families legislative package proposed by Missouri state Reps.  Stephen Webber (D-Columbia) and Jason Kander (D-Kansas City).  Webber is a former Marine reservist who served two tours in Iraq and Kander is an Army reservist who served in Afghanistan.  They were both named VoteVets.org Emerging Leaders last year and won election to the House in November.  Today, a central piece of that legislative package died in committee by a one-vote margin.

House Bill 492, sponsored by Webber and Kander, would have helped state employees in the Reserve or National Guard by making up the difference between their military pay and what they earn in their work for the state…

…Voting against the bill were two freshman Republicans–Reps. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) and Scott Largent (R-Clinton).  Either Hoskins or Largent could have saved the measure.  Largent is the Vice-Chairman of the committee, so one wonders why he would take such an anti-military family position.  Hoskins represents a district that includes Whiteman Air Force Base, so I doubt his constituents would be thrilled with his vote either

[emphasis added]

Hmm. “…I doubt his constituents would be thrilled with his vote either…”