Senate panel approves Jones bill to protect charitable gaming

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to allow charity poker rooms to continue to operate in Michigan was approved Wednesday by the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee.

“This is not about making huge profits for casinos. Charitable gaming in Michigan is about raising funds to support local charities and organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions clubs; schools; and police, firefighters and veterans groups,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This bill would simply put into law the emergency rules signed by the governor – allowing our local organizations to continue to use charitable gaming to support their causes.”

Last summer, 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. Senate Bill 187 is an attempt to codify those emergency rules into statute.

Rep. Tom Barrett is the sponsor of similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

“I appreciate Senator Jones’ partnership with this issue affecting our community,” said Barrett, R-Potterville. “Charities are important. As the emergency rules are set to expire in July of this year, I am excited to continue working together to help our charities and protect this fundraising mechanism.”

SB 187 now heads to the full Senate for consideration. Barrett’s bill is House Bill 4293 and has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.

Jones’ measure is supported by numerous groups, including the Michigan Jaycees and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.