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Missouri Family E-NewsOctober 11, 2010
 
 
2010 Voters Guide Now Available
 
2010 Voters Guide Now Available The Missouri Family Policy Council has posted a Voters Guide for the upcoming November general election on our ministry website.

The Voters Guide provides answers to a survey distributed to all candidates for federal and statewide office in Missouri. Candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and State Auditor were asked to provide their views on 16 different prominent issues of public concern.

Surveys were sent to nominees from the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Constitution parties. We were not able to include races for the Missouri General Assembly in this Voters Guide.

We hope to have the resources to include state representative and state senate races in future election cycles. We are disappointed that more candidates did not choose to respond to the questionnaire. This is indicative of the campaign strategy followed by many campaign consultants these days, who insist on controlling any and all messages delivered by the candidates. Nonetheless, we appreciate those who did choose to participate, and believe you will find their answers to be enlightening.

The Missouri Family Policy Council is a non-profit educational organization, and as such is prohibited under IRS regulations from endorsing candidates or participating in any partisan political activity.

However, organizations like ours can share information on the views of candidates for office so long as it includes all candidates, and is presented in a neutral way.

We developed this Voters Guide in that fashion. Should additional candidates respond to the survey between now and Election Day on November 2nd, we will add their responses to the information posted online. So stay tuned. You can access the Missouri Family Policy Council 2010 Voters Guide by going to our website through this link, and clicking "2010 Voters Guide" on the menu on the home page: Missouri Family Policy Council
 
 
Congress Advances Bill to Seek Info on Sexual Preferences
 
A subcommittee of the U.S. House has approved legislation which would ask federal health program participants to share their so-called "sexual orientation."

The bill, sponsored by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, was endorsed by a panel of the House Energy and Commerce committee. Under the proposal, any individual who applies for or receives services through health care programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services will be asked to reveal their "sexual orientation and gender identity."

While the legislation claims that participation in the survey would be voluntary, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to ensure that all patients in federal health care programs are asked the question.

The Secretary is also instructed to develop standards to maximize "voluntary" participation. Baldwin says that the legislation is needed to address "a lack of cultural competency" in addressing "LGBT" health issues. She says the bill is about "collecting data. No more. No less."

Critics have pointed out that the bill's provisions would apply even to school-age children served through community-based health clinics. These children would be asked if they consider themselves to be "gay or bisexual" or if they know their "gender identity."

Congressman Joe Barton of Texas says the bill is an invasion of people's privacy. "For the life of me I cannot see why this is something the federal government should get itself involved with. If you are a young person, you may not even know what some of these terms even mean.
 
Missouri Gaming Commission Debates Gambling Expansion
The Missouri Gaming Commission is expected to decide by Thanksgiving whether to further expand gambling operations in the state of Missouri. The Commission is considering applications from casino developers in north St. Louis County, suburban Kansas City, and Cape Girardeau. The casino companies are competing for the thirteenth, and last available casino license in the state of Missouri. In November 2008 Missouri voters repealed the provision in Missouri law which limited the amount of money gamblers could lose in a two-hour period to $500. At the same time the loss limit was repealed, the statewide referendum placed a cap on the number of Missouri casinos at thirteen. Existing Missouri casinos supported the cap to limit competition from new casino enterprises.

The thirteenth license became available when the President Casino on the riverfront in St. Louis shut down in June. There are currently four casinos in the Kansas City metropolitan area, four in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and one each in St. Joseph, Boonville, Caruthersville, and LaGrange. Developers are seeking to site the last Missouri casino in the Columbia Bottoms area of north St. Louis County, near the old Chain of Rocks Bridge in north St. Louis, in the Sugar Creek area of north Kansas City, and in Cape Girardeau. The Missouri Gaming Commission has held a series of meetings over the last several weeks to hear from proponents and opponents of the various projects. Casino applicants are scheduled to make formal presentations of their plans to the Missouri Gaming Commission on October 20th.

Missouri Gaming Commission Chairman James Mathewson has stated repeatedly that the Commission will not issue an additional license unless it can be demonstrated that it will generate additional revenue for the state. "There isn't anything in the rules that says we have to award that final license. If after we have evaluated all four proposals we don't see a significant increase going to the education fund, then what's the point?" Ameristar, which operates casinos in St. Charles and Kansas City, is touting an economic impact study which claims that the Cape Girardeau proposal would produce the most new revenue for the state because it would take little business away from existing casino operators.

Yet the question is whether the people of Cape Girardeau want a casino in their town. Residents there will vote on November 2nd whether to endorse the casino proposal or not. Cape residents voted against having a casino in their town back in 1993, but then reversed their position months later that same year. If they vote no this year, Mathewson has stated that the Cape Girardeau plan will be taken off the table.

There were nearly 54 million admissions to Missouri casinos during fiscal year 2010, which ended on June 30th of this year. Casino patrons gambled away a total of more than $1.7 billion during those twelve months. The state of Missouri collected approximately $474 million in revenue from admissions fees and a percentage of the casinos' gross revenues.

None of these statistics tell the story of the number of families financially destroyed through family members gambling away the household income and savings and racking up towering debts. None of these statistics tell the story of the number of marriages blown apart, the number of children deprived of basic needs, and the number of families emotionally destroyed by gambling addictions. None of these statistics tell the story of the real "economic impact" Missouri would see if $1.7 billion was spent on homegrown community businesses and products rather than running through the hands of out-of-state casino companies.

The Missouri Department of Mental Health reports that studies indicate that anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of spouses of problem gamblers have been abused. They further report that children of compulsive gamblers are also prone to suffer abuse and neglect, and have a higher risk of alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, depression, and suicide.

The annual cost for problem and pathological gamblers is estimated to be $5 billion per year, along with an estimated $40 billion in lifetime costs for lost productivity, social services expenses, and creditor losses. The Department of Mental Health projects that each problem gambler negatively impacts the lives of from 10 to 17 other people. You can let the Missouri Gaming Commission know of your thoughts about the expansion of gambling in our state by writing them at the following address:
Missouri Gaming Commission
3417 Knipp Drive P.O. Box 1847 Jefferson City, MO 65102 You can e-mail the Commission by using this e-mail address: PublicRelation@mgc.dps.mo.gov You can read more about the social costs, human damage, and community liabilities of casino gambling by visiting the
CasinoWatch blog at the following link:
Casino Watch You can also learn more about compulsive gambling and its harmful impacts by visiting the website of the National Council on Problem Gambling at this link: National Council.
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