The debate got a little heated this week as the Senate considered a bill to fix the problems with Pennsylvania’s small game of chance law.
Senate Republican leaders threw out House amendments that I supported, so Sen. Richard Kasunic and I offered similar amendments in the Senate but they were blocked by the majority.
The bill passed without them, but only with the commitment that we further refine the law to help small organizations continue their good work without the burden of unnecessary and expensive restrictions.
I think most lawmakers realize more changes are needed to get to the difficult balance between protecting volunteer organizations and protecting the community from runaway gambling.
Sen. Kasunic and I tried to end the annual reporting and background check requirements for charitable organizations and their volunteer workers with small games proceeds of $100,000 or less, but the majority set the limit at $2,500.
Among the amendments we offered was a proposal that would give small games of chance enforcement authority to local police officers rather than state liquor enforcement officers, who have recently been hammering nonprofit organizations for harmless infractions that organizations have engaged in for decades.
District attorneys and area police departments have a better understanding of a community’s needs and standards—and a better handle on appropriate enforcement priorities.
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Photo ID not needed for Nov. 6 Election
As I mentioned in a special edition of On Point, a Commonwealth Court judge this week blocked Pennsylvania’s controversial Voter ID law for the Nov. 6 election.
Judge Robert Simpson’s ruling will continue the “soft roll-out” of the law that took place during the spring primary. That means election official will ask you for a photo ID, but if you don’t have one, you can still cast your vote.
I’m going to tell people who call my office to continue to try to get a photo ID card because it might be required some day.
But in the meantime, just go vote on Nov. 6.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA is looking for individuals and organizations that would like to decorate a small tree with purple ribbons or a large tree with a big purple bow.
The organization will provide a sign explaining the purpose of this awareness campaign. You can make your own bows and ribbons, however bows will be available.
For more information, contact Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA: Washington County 724-223-5477, Greene County 724-852-2373, Fayette County 724-437-2530.
Seats Available for the Holiday Bus Tour
Seats are still available for the annual Holiday Bus Tour of the Capitol. Anyone interested in joining us should let us know soon to guarantee a spot.
The tour will include stops at the Governor’s Mansion, the Capitol building and Hershey Chocolate World. A hot lunch will be served at the Capitol and is included in the $65 ticket price. The trip is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12.
Anyone interested in going along can contact my Washington satellite office at 724-223-2114 for reservations, pick-up times and places.
Coach Ditka Delivers Powerful Presentation
I had the honor this week to talk with former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka, who was the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association Convention in Hershey.
Coach Ditka’s presentation was titled: “ACE—Attitude, Character and Enthusiasm."
It was a powerful presentation and, coming from a pro football Hall-of-Famer who won Super Bowls as a player, coach and assistant coach, his words carry a lot of credibility.