Our fight against the expansion of gambling and the removal of the loss limit in the Senate reached a pivotal moment last night in Jefferson City as a vote took place on SB430.
After a filibuster on Monday night led by Sen. Matt Bartle -R and Sen. John Loudon -R, the sponsor of SB430 Sen. Charlie Shields -R placed the bill on the informal calendar and announced to the press and everyone present that he was shelving the bill and would not bring it back up again this session.
Tuesday morning brought a bit of momentary relief as many opponents of gambling expansion read in papers statewide and heard on news reports that efforts to remove the loss limit would be done for the session. Well as soon as the papers were printed Sen. Shields changed his mind and brought SB430 back on the floor for debate on Tuesday afternoon, vowing to stay as long as necessary to end the filibuster and clarifying his determination to remove the loss limit.
As they did on Monday evening, Sen. Bartle and Sen. Loudon began yet another filibuster. Sen. Loudon, however, offered a compromise amendment that would have saved the scholarship in SB430 without removing the loss limit. Sen. Loudon’s amendment would have created a slot machine licensing fee of $5,000 which would have generated approximately $113 million for the smart start scholarship and Missouri teaching fellows program, while keeping the loss limit, establishing a cap on casino licenses, and not raising taxes.
Unfortunately, before debate continued and a vote could be taken on Sen. Loudon’s amendment, a deal was struck to end the filibuster. The agreement reached would solely change the tax on casino gross receipts from an additional 2% to 4.25%. After the agreement was accepted as a substitute by the Senate a roll call vote on perfection was done on the bill.
SB430 was barely perfected on a 17-16 vote. The next step is third reading and final passage, meaning that calls to Senators are extremely important in tipping the balance in favor of protecting the loss limit and defeating SB430.
Below is the vote on SB430 which would raise the tax on casino gross receipts by 4.25%, remove the loss limit, and create a cap on casino licenses at 16 (meaning 3 more new casinos in Missouri). A yes vote is in favor of the bill and the expansion of gambling by removing of the loss limit, and a no vote simply rejects the bill.
YES- Callahan-D, Champion-R, Clemens-R, Days-D, Engler-R, Graham-D, Green-D, Justus-D, Koster-R, McKenna-D, Nodler-R, Ridgeway-R, Rupp-R, Shields-R, Shoemyer-D, Smith-D, Vogel-R
NO- Barnitz-D, Bartle-R, Bray-D, Crowell-R, Gibbons-R, Goodman-R, Griesheimer-R, Gross-R, Kennedy-D, Lager-R, Loudon-R, Mayer-R, Purgason-R, Scott-R, Stouffer-R, Wilson-D
$500 Loss Limit Legislative Update
Today SB430 could have come up for final passage in the Senate but it stalled. No one knows for sure what will happen, but we do know that the casinos do not like the raising of the tax on their gross receipts by 4.25%. Word floated around the Capitol all day that a majority of the casinos do not want Senator Shields to advance the bill at this time.
The Senate needs one more vote to pass the bill and send it to the House. During debate in the House it is conceivable that the rax rate could be lowered to the casino's liking. Casino Watch will be there everyday to strengthen those who oppose the repeal of the loss limit and work with them to implement a winning strategy. At that time it will be imperative that constituents across the State call their representative to urge a no vote!
Please stay tuned.