Shared from the 4/14/2018 American Press eEdition

Louisiana Senate approves bill allowing for college raffles

BATON ROUGE — The state Senate Wednesday approved a bill giving public higher education institutions the right to conduct raffles.

Senate Bill 559 was approved 21-13 and moves to the House. Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings and sponsor of the legislation, said the inability of McNeese State University to conduct a raffle spurred the legislation.

Morrish and Sens. Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, and John Smith, R-Leesville, voted for the bill.

Current law says the governing authority of any parish or municipality may license organizations to hold and operate games of chance without having to qualify with the IRS for a federal income tax exemption. Morrish’s bill adds public institutions of higher learning to the list of organizations.

The proposed law provides that a licensed public institution of higher education may conduct a raffle without a license in a municipality or parish that permits games of chance when the entire need proceeds of the games of chance are devoted to supporting the institution.

Those institutions include each in-state public graduate and undergraduate institution, public junior and community college or institutes when the entire net proceeds support the institution.

Morrish said booster clubs have been able to conduct raffles, but not the institutions. Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield, said raffles have been held at many colleges and wanted to know why the legislation is needed.

Those raffles may be illegal, Morrish said, and his bill only makes raffles legal.

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