Jones reintroduces charitable gaming bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Wednesday reintroduced legislation in the Senate to allow charity poker rooms to operate in Michigan.

“Allowing charitable gaming in Michigan is about helping support local charities — not making huge profits for casinos,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I am proud to once again be working with Representative Tom Barrett to stand up for charitable organizations and community groups that benefit from these types of fundraising events, such as the Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions clubs; area schools; and police, firefighters and veterans groups.

“I continue to hear from local charities about the tremendous impact the loss of charitable gaming has had on their ability to support their causes and our communities.”

In 2015, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the governor filed emergency rules after the current rules were challenged in court because charities said they would drastically limit their fundraising ability.

Last session, the Senate passed legislation in an attempt to codify the emergency rules into statute with some changes. The measure was supported by numerous groups, including the Michigan Jaycees and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Senate Bill 35 is a reintroduction of that legislation.

Rep. Tom Barrett will be sponsoring a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

“I appreciate Senator Jones’ partnership with this issue affecting our community,” said Barrett, R-Potterville. “Charities are important, and I am excited to continue working together to help our charities and protect this fundraising mechanism.”

SB 35 has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, which Jones serves on as vice chair.