State Senators Chris Harris and Wendy Davis and State Representative Chris Turner Purchase First Veterans Cash Lottery Scratch-Off Tickets

New $2 Ticket Will Provide Much Needed Funding for Veterans’ Programs

ARLINGTON – Today State Senators Chris Harris and Wendy Davis and State Representative Chris Turner were joined by fellow legislators and veterans’ leaders at a press conference as they purchased some of the first Veterans Cash Texas Lottery scratch-off tickets to go on sale. Stores across the state began selling the ticket Monday, November 9, and the game will be in full circulation by Wednesday, November 11, Veterans’ Day. The proceeds from the ticket will benefit the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA).

The FVA was created by Legislature in 2007 to aid those who served our nation in uniform, as well as their families. Since its creation, the fund has received very little financial assistance and as a result, organizations that aid veterans in need are having to look elsewhere for grants and funding sources.

“With the launch of this game today, we are saying ‘thank you’ to the men and women of our state who have risked so much in service to our nation,” said Rep. Turner, who pushed the Veterans Cash legislation through the House earlier this year. “The revenue from this game will provide meaningful funding for the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance to help provide grants for job placement services, health care costs and PTSD and TBI treatment for Texas veterans.”

“Texas is currently home to more than 1.7 million veterans who dedicated their lives and service in order to protect our freedoms,” said Senator Harris. “We, as Texans, owe these men and women as well as their families a great debt of gratitude. Veterans Cash will set up the stream of revenue enabling the Texas Veterans Commission, and all Texans, a way to say thank you for a job well done and welcome home.”

“I am thrilled to take part in the release of Veterans Cash which will create the greatly needed revenue source allowing Texas the ability to give back and take care of our returning veterans and their families, who have so selflessly given their service for our protection,” continued Harris.

“On behalf of veterans across the state, I cannot thank Senator Harris, Senator Van De Putte and Representative Turner enough for their hard work to pass the measure creating the Veterans Cash scratch-off and being tireless advocates for veterans and their families.” said John Miterko, Legislative Liaison, Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations.

The Legislative Budget Board projects that the single scratch-off game will mean an economic impact for the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance in the amount of approximately $9 million during the first full year it is in circulation.

During the 81st Legislative Session, HB 1299 by State Representative Chris Turner and its Senate companion, SB 421 by Senators Van De Putte and Chris Harris, were filed to create the lottery scratch-off game. HB 1299 passed the House with only minutes to spare and was eventually added to Senator Van De Putte’s SB 1655. The passage of legislation to create this scratch-off ticket has been a top priority for veterans’ organizations across the State of Texas.

New lottery benefits Texas veterans

Chris_1By  State Senator Chris Harris  and  State Rep. Chris Turner | Mansfield Mirror | Nov. 13, 2009

Texas is home to 1.7 million veterans, 240,000 of whom have served our nation in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past eight years. In 2007, the Texas Legislature created the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA) to provide funding for grants to aid veterans and their families during difficult times. However, there was no money directed to the fund, and it has been unable to serve its purpose.

During the most recent legislative session, we, along with State Senator Leticia Van De Putte, authored legislation to create a lottery scratch-off game, the proceeds of which will go directly to the FVA. We were proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with every major veterans organization in Texas to pass this important measure. The first Veterans Cash scratch-off game goes on sale this week, as we observe Veterans Day. The $2 game is projected to generate up to $9 million per year into the FVA. Why is this so important?

Our servicemen and women sacrifice so much for our freedom. Many have returned from war suffering from mental and physical wounds that may never heal. And the families of our service members sacrifice greatly for our nation as well; the months and years that their spouses have spent overseas, the constant worry and anxiety they must feel knowing their loved ones are in harm’s way or knowing that their loved one is missing the special moments in their children’s lives.

When funded, the FVA will provide grants to organizations that work directly for veterans and their families. Services that will be made possible include job placement programs, assistance with transportation to VA hospitals and clinics and help for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

As we remember the sacrifices and bravery of those in uniform this Veterans Day, we hope this new lottery game will make a difference in the lives of those who have served. We know this game will not repay the debt we owe our veterans who have served our nation in uniform — nothing can. We can’t put a price tag on the incredible sacrifices Texas veterans have made to protect our freedom. But hopefully with the launch of this game, we can provide our veterans some help they need and have more than earned.

State Rep. Chris Turner Receives Texas Veterans Commission’s Leadership Award

Major (Ret) Eliseo "Al" Cantu of the Texas Veterans' Commission stands with State Representative Chris Turner in front of a mock-up of the first Texas Lottery's Veterans Scratch-off game, which will be released on November 9, 2009. Also pictured are State Senators Leticia Van De Putte and Wendy Davis.

Major (Ret) Eliseo "Al" Cantu of the Texas Veterans' Commission stands with State Representative Chris Turner in front of a mock-up of the first Texas Lottery's Veterans Scratch-off game, which will be released on November 9, 2009. Also pictured are State Senators Leticia Van De Putte and Wendy Davis.

IRVING – Today State Representative Chris Turner was presented with the Texas Veterans Commission’s Leadership Award in appreciation for his efforts in passing the measure to create a lottery game to benefit Texas veterans. Turner was given the award after speaking to over 500 people attending the Texas Veterans Commission annual statewide training conference in Irving.

Texas Veterans’ Commission Executive Director James E. Nier  presented Turner with the award, which reads: “His leadership on veterans’ issues has inspired the respect of the entire veterans’ community… his capable, diligent and continued leadership in the Texas House has enhanced the lives of Texas veterans and their families.”

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition, ” Turner said.  “The passage of the veterans lottery bill was a testament to the hard work of every veteran organization in the state, and I am just happy I could be part of this important effort that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of many veterans across Texas.”

Eventually amended to Senate Bill 1655, Turner’s House Bill 1299 created a single scratch off lottery ticket to benefit the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA).  The FVA will provide grants to aid veterans and their families in times of financial need and support PTSD counseling and other veterans’ services.  The lottery ticket will be released on November 9 and the expected revenue will be over $8 million per year. This one was on the top priorities for veterans’ organizations in Texas.

Turner, who was named “Freshman of the Year” by the bipartisan House Veterans Caucus, also passed legislation requiring institutions of higher education to designate a financial aid specialist to be trained on issues related to veterans’ programs, including the GI Bill and the Hazelwood Act.  He was also the House sponsor of legislation allowing state employees who are members of military reserves or National Guard to continue to accrue their sick and vacation leave time while they are on active military duty.

New lottery game to benefit Texas veterans

By AMY JOHNSTON | KVUE News | October 19, 2009


Click here to watch the video. About 1.7 million veterans live in Texas, but the state doesn’t have enough money to meet all their needs. Monday, a new way to raise money was announced, and the Legislature is gambling that a new lottery game will pay big.”

Monday, a new way to raise money was announced, and the Legislature is gambling that a new lottery game will pay big.

At the Zip’n in North Austin, the lottery is big business.

“Mostly we sell the $10 (or) $20 tickets,” said Salim Mardia.

Scratch-off tickets are especially popular — from one dollar up to $50, according to Mardia.

Now the Legislature is banking on that popularity to help Texas veterans. On Monday, they unveiled a new $2 lottery ticket called Veterans Cash. Part of the money goes back to the state’s Permanent Fund for Veteran’s Assistance.

“We could help more veterans with transportation assistance to hospitals. We could help fund PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) counseling services that are so crucial especially to many of our younger veterans. We could do more to reduce the shame of homeless veterans,” said State Rep. Chris Turner.

Ticket sales are expected to generate about $8 million in revenue in its first year. Here’s where money that will go: 65 percent to prizes; 5 percent to retail commission; 7 percent to administrative costs; that leaves 23 percent of sales — about 46 cents per ticket — for the Fund for Veteran’s Assistance.
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