Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed Senate Bill 224, which would have reduced the maximum penalty for minors who use false identification to obtain access to casinos and allowed those convicted of criminal non-support to expunge their offenses from the public record, Nixon’s office says in a press release.

“Lowering penalties for criminal behavior such as underage gambling and presenting false identification is not a Missouri value,” Nixon said. “Our young people belong in classrooms – not casinos.  That is why, here in Missouri, we will continue to protect families and communities by enforcing laws that combat these types of offenses. I vetoed this bill because weakening laws that help keep minors out of casinos will not move our state forward.”

Nixon’s office says the State of Missouri takes illegal gambling seriously and has appropriately devised strong laws and penalties to combat these types of offenses.  However, underage gambling continues to be a problem, the press release states. Since 1997, Missouri casinos have paid $1.66 million in fines related to underage gamblers.  For minors convicted of presenting false identification in order to obtain access to a casino, Senate Bill 224 would have lowered the offense classification to an infraction, eliminated incarceration as a potential penalty, and required only the payment of a $500 fine.

Senate Bill 224 also would have allowed individuals convicted of criminal non-support to expunge all records associated with their offense, the release states. Under the bill, even individuals who are chronically late and deficient in their support obligations would have been able to apply to have their records expunged.

“Criminal non-support is a serious offense that should be treated as such,” Nixon said. “Allowing those who have been convicted of criminal non-support to wipe away all records of their offense is simply unacceptable.”

Read the Governor’s veto message here.