Many of you have voiced concerns about a bill that would radically alter chartable gambling electronic bingo and pull-tab regulations. The legislation was added to an omnibus commerce finance bill at the last minute after regular committee deadlines.
Electronic bingo and pull-tab charitable gambling handheld devices would have to be reworked and replaced with new games that only look and operate like paper bingo cards and paper pull-tabs. This form of electronic charitable gambling was created to raise public money to help pay for building the Viking’s Stadium.
Initially, the electronic games were not very popular. Over time, the companies that design and build the games and the local charitable gaming groups were able build a customer base that does generate enough annual revenue to pay for the stadium bonds and then some.
This is not the way to reward the hard work and success of our local charitable gambling organizations. In fact to much of the revenue they raise is going to Saint Paul and not staying local. I continue to push legislation that allows more of the funds raised by local charitable gambling organizations to stay in our local communities.
Please be assured I will continue to oppose this misguided effort. I expect that this very bad section of the bill will not survive the joint conference committee that is reconciling the house and senate versions of this bill. Please join me in monitoring what the conference committee does with this item. You can track action on SF 972 at this link.
This week we sent a $7.8 million public safety assistance bill to Gov. Walz's desk for signature. The bill provided funding for the Emergency Management Assistance Compact that reimburses out-of-state law enforcement from Iowa and Nebraska that traveled to the Twin Cities to provide public safety assistance for the Derek Chauvin trial. The bill also pays for the huge amount of overtime provided by our State Patrol Troopers and DNR Conservation Officers that were ordered into the metro area to deter civil unrest.
I was pleased to join 107 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle that voted to support our men and women in law enforcement. It should have been a unanimous vote. I am disappointed that the 25 no votes came almost exclusively from the House metro legislators that live in and directly represent the very areas that were most at risk for civil disorder. Public safety is everyone’s responsibility.