News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
NASHVILLE – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) won approval of legislation in the Senate State and Local Government Committee today to allow 501 (c) (19) veterans organizations to raise funds for charitable purposes.
Senate Bill 325 is the final step in ensuring that Amendment 4 to the State Constitution, which won approval by voters in November, is enacted. The amendment gives veterans groups the same opportunity as 501 (c) (3) organizations to conduct an annual fundraising event like duck races, cake walks, raffles, and other games of chance.
Senator Crowe was the prime sponsor of Amendment 4 and Senator Norris is Chairman of the Veterans Subcommittee of the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
Amendment 4 received 69.6% of the vote, outpacing all other constitutional amendments on the ballot. Any funds raised by the games under the amendment must go to purposes that benefit the community, veterans or retired veterans.
“These veterans groups do a lot of good community service work and the passage of this amendment can help them in their efforts,” said Senator Norris. “Our legislation will allow this process to move forward and will ensure that the deadline affords these organizations enough time to get their applications in.”
Currently, 501 (c) (3) organizations must submit an application and all required attachments between July 1st and January 31st each year for an event which takes place between July 1 and June 30.
“Years ago, when the constitutional amendment allowing charitable gaming passed, our veterans were left out,” said Senator Crowe. “We have been working ever since to change the Constitution so they can raise charitable funds to benefit the less fortunate in our communities, like our wounded warriors.”
The bill now goes to the Senate floor for a final vote.
Note: A final Senate vote, that is. The House bill, sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson, is still awaiting its first committee vote. Little doubt, of course, that it will be approved in due course.