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November ballot question in Kansas aims to legalize raffles - KOAM TV 7

November ballot question in Kansas aims to legalize raffles

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A measure on the November ballot in Kansas aims to legalize raffles for non-profits in the state.

A lot of organizations have technically operated outside the law in order to fund their groups.

Fire Chief Bill Hall says the raffle held at Galena Days is one of the biggest fundraisers for the Galena Fire Department each year.

This year's raffle raised more than $20,000, a portion of which, Hall says, will go towards covering the cost of new equipment.

The Galena Fire Department is not alone.

Senator Jake LaTurner says organizations across the state would benefit from an update to Kansas law.

"We have a lot of community organizations and churches that completely fund themselves through raffles and up until now, they have been operating outside the law," LaTurner said. "It's ridiculous."

LaTurner says there have been some situations where charitable groups have been penalized for hosting raffle events.

"There was a situation in Topeka where they were raising funds to fight cancer and there was a raid on their facility because they were operating with the raffles," he said.

LaTurner says fundraising efforts of groups like the Galena Fire Department deserve legal protection through a constitutional amendment.

"First we had tried to amend the statute to get this done," he said. "We had people in Topeka tell us that it was a constitutional problem, so that's why we chose to go the constitutional amendment route."

Hall is hopeful the measure will pass, but has a plan in place, in case it doesn't.

"If they do vote it down and say it continues to be illegal, we'll probably go ahead and have Galena Days, but we'll send our young guys to jail, us old timers won't go to jail, it will be the young guys," Hall said.

If the measure passes, lawmakers say clarification as to whether the amendment includes poker runs or not would most likely be established through state statute sometime next year.
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