Contact: Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336 or email: [email protected]
(NASHVILLE, TN), April 20, 2010 – A resolution seeking to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to allow tax exempt veterans groups to raise funds in the same manner as 501 (c)(3) charitable organizations has been filed by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville), and Senators Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville). The lawmakers said veterans groups were left out of the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002, which also allowed for a State Education Lottery.
The 2002 Amendment allows Internal Revenue Code 501 (c) (3) charitable organizations to conduct an annual fundraising event which includes a game of chance. The events must be authorized by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly and has included games such as raffles, reverse raffles, cakewalks, duck races and cakewheels. Veterans groups are generally organized as 501 (c) (19) or 501 (c) (4) organizations under the Internal Revenue Code.
“This change will allow an outpouring of support for veterans groups across Tennessee,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “The Volunteer State has a tremendous number of veterans and an even larger number of citizens who wish to show their support for the sacrifices made on our behalf.”
“This is the first time since the Constitutional Amendment was passed that action has been taken to allow veterans groups to participate in these fundraising events,” said Senator Crowe, who is Chairman of the Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs. “I continue to hear from veterans about the need to change this so that they, too, can raise funds through such events as raffles. 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.”
The resolution filed also seeks to amend the Constitution to allow the veterans organizations and 501 (c) (3) s to have more than one event per year.
“As legislators we see many opportunities to pass legislation but rarely do we have the opportunity to change the Constitution,” added Senator Ketron. “This bill gives us the opportunity to give something back to those who have sacrificed for this country and who continue to serve others through service to their community.”
“The veterans should have never been left out of the original Amendment,” added Senator Tracy. “They do a lot of good work in our communities to help a lot of Tennesseans. Hopefully, our General Assembly will pass this Resolution to include them as an eligible organization.
The Resolution, SJR 982, must be approved by both the 106th General Assembly, currently in session, and the 107th, which will take office in 2011, before going to voters in a statewide referendum in November 2014.