Carbon County is home to several charitable volunteer emergency services companies, fraternal and veterans associations, and religious organizations that offer small games of chance as a way to raise money for the promotion of their charitable and civic purposes.
"As a member of various local social organizations including the Sons of the American Legion Post No. 314 and the Beaver Run Rod and Gun Club, I understand the importance of offering these games to members and their guests to help offset the general operating expenses of the organizations' facilities," said State Rep. Doyle Heffley. Heffley recently joined the majority of his colleagues on both political sides when he voted in favor of legislation that would update Pennsylvania's Small Games of Chance Act, allowing community organizations to increase their fundraising efforts.
"Fire companies, veterans organizations and other civic groups contribute so much to our communities, which is why House Bill 169 is about encouraging these nonprofit groups to continue to provide community services that government might otherwise be expected to perform and fund," added Heffley. "I have also spoken to a number of members from local charitable organizations who have all shared their interest in this legislation." Once signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett, House Bill 169 will allow community service organizations to use up to 30 percent of the money raised for general operating expenses such as equipment, property taxes, new facility construction or repairs, and many other capital projects. The majority of the funds raised, 70 percent, would be used for public interest purposes such as sponsoring youth sports, refurbishing local parks, or giving out grants and scholarships to local students. While not applying to bingo, the measure would also increase the weekly prize limit on small games of chance from $5,000 to $25,000, and permit fire companies and EMS organizations to conduct raffles with a weekly limit of $50,000. I'm confident the increase in prize limits makes in-state organizations more competitive with neighboring states. Until House Bill 169, the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act had not been changed in more than two decades.
Heffley said, "I support this legislation because I realize that economic conditions have changed drastically since 1988. When it comes to serving our local community, state government must remove legislative obstacles that make raising adequate funding difficult or even impossible." As always, Heffley said he will continue to push for legislation which best serves the needs of his constituents in Carbon County.
"As this issue and other legislative pieces progress in upcoming months, I'll continue to keep my district informed," he said.