CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Governor Jay Nixon signs legislation in Cape Girardeau on Thursday that provides dedicated funding for Missouri's veterans homes.
"We in Missouri stand with our veterans to make sure they have the support they need and deserve," said Governor Nixon.
In a ceremony at the Cape Girardeau Veterans Home, Nixon signed the bill that ensures a steady stream of help for years to come.
"This guarantees not only now, but five years from now, 10 years from now there will be resources available," said Governor Nixon.
The bill will dedicate a yearly funding source of $32 million for the ongoing operations of Missouri veterans homes and cemeteries.
Lawrence Heisserer served during World War II, and he's lived at the Cape Veterans Home for nearly six years.
"I don't have no other place to go," said Heisserer.
He is grateful to know veterans like him haven't been forgotten.
"I have no complaints," said Heisserer.
More than 1,300 Missouri veterans like Heisserer rely on the state's veterans homes for care and medical services.
"It gives us security to know that we're providing and will continue to provide to future generations of veterans like what we're doing now," said Viviane Rains-Administrator, MO Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau.
House Bill 1731 increases the transfer amount from the Missouri Gaming Commission Fund to the Veterans' Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund, providing a dedicated annual funding source.
The change does redirect money that now benefits early childhood programs.
According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the state cut money to pre-schools this year by $3 million. "We'll have to find other sources that can come back and make up a significant portion of that funding," said Governor Nixon.
According to DESE, it's possible the money for early childhood education could come from tobacco settlement funds. It is yet to be determined.
Governor Nixon says House Bill 1731 received strong bipartisan support in both legislative chambers. With the Governor's signature, this legislation goes into effect July 1, 2012.
"The need for these facilities is growing not dropping, so it's important for us to have direct certainty as to the funding," said Nixon.