(NASHVILLE, TN), May 17, 2011 – A resolution 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 been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is sponsored by Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City).
Crowe said veterans groups were left out of the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002 that has allowed charitable groups registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) (3) organization to conduct an annual fundraising event. That Amendment, which also allowed for a State Education Lottery, authorized only such games as raffles, reverse raffles, cakewalks, duck races and cake wheels, as long as it has been previously approved by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly.
“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. “We 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 am proud to find a way to help them in their efforts.”
The bill requires that any funds raised by the games go to purposes that benefit the community, veterans or retired veterans. Games like bingo, pulltabs, punchboards, video lottery games, instant and on-line lottery games, would continue to be illegal, as well as other games of chance associated with casinos, slot machines, and roulette wheels.
“This bill give 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,” Crowe added.
The Resolution must be approved by both the 107th General Assembly, currently in session, and the 108th, which will take office in 2013, before going to voters in a statewide referendum in November 2014.