Danedri Thompson
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Those Booster Club raffles are illegal, but a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution could change that.
A question on the Nov. 4 ballot will ask voters to approve or reject an amendment to the Kansas Constitution to legalize raffles for charitable organizations.
Selling raffle tickets to raise money for charities is illegal today, though rarely, if ever, enforced.
“All the good work that church raffles, school raffles do could technically be prosecuted if you got an overzealous (district attorney),” State Rep. Brett Hildebrand, R-Shawnee, said.
Ernie Cooper, Olathe, is the adjutant commander for 2nd District of the American Legion.
“If we can get this amendment through, at least we could go out and raise funds to better support veterans in our communities,” Cooper said.
There was little opposition to the bill that put the question on the ballot.
Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, R-Palco, sponsored the legislation.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a charity that hasn’t done one of these (raffles) to raise money,” Couture-Lovelady said. “We don’t need our churches and Boy Scouts breaking the law.”
While there was limited opposition to the legislation, he said it did require compromise with some anti-gambling groups in Kansas.
“Their main concern was there are unintended consequences and (the amendment) could lead to another expansion of gambling in the state,” he said. “It was carefully crafted to not have any of that.”
Hildebrand said changing the state constitution should be done sparingly. However, he said the original language in the state’s governing document had unintended consequences.
“I don’t think it was probably ever intended to hinder these charitable organizations’ raffles,” Hildebrand explained.
He calls the amendment question a “fix.”
“It’s a very simple, straight-forward, much-needed change to the constitution,” he said.
He anticipates a similar language change to statute to work its way through the legislature in the next session. Last summer, the Kansas Gaming Commission determined that based on the current wording some fantasy football leagues are illegal in Kansas.
“I think we’ll probably be seeing a fix to that as well,” Hildebrand said. “We don’t need to be criminalizing thousands of Kansans over that.”
A ‘yes’ vote on the Nov. 4 ballot question will legalize raffles for charitable purposes. A ‘no’ vote will keep the existing language in the state constitution.