Lottery ticket for veterans struck down at the polls

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 | 11:14 p.m. CDT; updated 11:15 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 6, 2014

*UPDATE: This story has been updated with the final statewide vote.

COLUMBIA — Amendment 8, which would have created a lottery ticket to finance veterans' homes and services, was rejected Tuesday night. Fifty-five percent* of voters rejected the ballot initiative. In Boone County, the proposal failed, with 65 percent voting against it.

BALLOT: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create a 'Veterans Lottery Ticket' and to use the revenue from the sale of these tickets for projects and services related to veterans?"

IMPACT: Because the amendment failed, no immediate changes will be made to the Missouri Lottery or the Missouri Veterans Commission's current funding. The commission is funded through its Home Fund and its capital interest fund. Proceeds from the lottery ticket would have gone into the capital interest fund.

The veterans commission uses all of its funding for the day-to-day operations of its homes, cemeteries and veterans services, commission spokesman Daniel Bell said. There are seven state veterans homes, with 1,350 beds. There are about 1,800 veterans on the waiting list for the homes. It would cost about $50 million to build a new veterans home, Bell said, which exceeds the commission's budget.

Because the proceeds from the lottery ticket depend on sales, it's unclear how much funding the lottery ticket would have produced.

REACTION: For the Missouri Veterans Commission, it will be business as usual, Bell said.

"To be honest, we really just want to thank our legislators for the support," Bell said. "We're looking forward to continuing to work with them to ensure funding for Missouri's vital veterans programs."

The main sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sheila Solon, R-Blue Springs, said she was "holding out hope" for the amendment as of 10 p.m.

WHAT'S NEXT: There will be no change to the funding of the Veterans Commission, and lottery ticket proceeds in Missouri will continue to fund only education.

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