The Senate approved Thursday a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would allow veterans organizations to stage gambling events to raise money for themselves or other charitable causes.
The proposal by Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, was approved by the Senate 24-6, meeting the two-thirds support level required for final passage of a proposed constitutional amendment. If the House also approves the measure, it will go on the 2014 general election ballot for final approval by voters.
When the state constitution was amended in 2002 to allow lotteries, a provision was included to allow some charitable groups to hold gaming events for fundraising, if each event is approved by the Legislature. Crowe said veterans groups should have the same rights of fundraising as other organizations now covered.
A news release on the proposed amendment is below.
News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), March 28, 2013 – A resolution sponsored by Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) seeking to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to allow 501 (c) (19) charitable veterans groups to raise funds in the same manner as other 501 (c) (3) charitable organizations, has received final Senate approval. Veterans groups were left out of the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2002. That amendment allowed charitable groups registered with the Internal Revenue Service as 501 (c) (3) organizations to conduct an annual fundraising event like duck races, cake walks, raffles and other games of chance.
“Years ago when this constitutional amendment passed, our veterans were left out,” said Senator Crowe. “We have been working ever since to change the Constitution to give veterans the ability to raise funds to help the less fortunate in our community.”
Senate Joint Resolution 60 requires that any funds raised by the games go to purposes that benefit the community, veterans or retired veterans. It was approved by the 107th General Assembly and must receive a two-thirds plurality in the current 108th General Assembly. Upon passage in the House of Representatives, it then goes to voters in a statewide referendum in November 2014 where it must receive a simple plurality of votes cast in the race for governor.
“These veterans groups do a lot of good community service work and I am proud to join with my colleagues to find a way to help them in their efforts. I hope that we can all look forward to seeing this measure on the ballot in 2014,” Crowe concluded.