Senator Pittman’s Bill Would Temporarily Enable Online Fundraising for Fire Departments and Veterans’ Organizations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Recognizing that the ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak is placing a severe financial crisis on first responders, veterans’ groups and other non-profit organizations, Senator Joe Pittman is introducing legislation that would temporarily allow these organizations to conduct online small games of chance (SGOC) fundraising activities during the duration of the Governor’s disaster declaration.

Senator Pittman’s bill would allow organizations with SGOC club licenses to offer games of chance virtually via the internet or mobile application, as well as receive payment electronically through credit and debit cards or other electronic mobile payment applications.  

“Due to restrictions implemented by the Governor’s disaster declarations during the COIVD-19 emergency, these organizations have been unable to conduct many of the fundraisers they need to operate,” Senator Pittman said.  “Ensuring that these organizations have the financial resources to continue to provide critical services to our communities is vital.”

Licensees would be required to verify age and residency of those participating in the SGOCs and the ability to fundraise online would end 30 days after the termination of the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

Senator Pittman was the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 1122 (Act 26 of 2020), which provided $50 million in grants for Pennsylvania’s first responders, $44 million for fire companies and $6 million for EMS stations.

“These men and women have seen their workloads increase while their funds have been depleted. Their traditional fundraising programs have been suspended by the coronavirus outbreak and they’ve had increased expenses for items such as personal protective gear. Our fire companies and ambulance crews have been on the frontline of the battle and it is only fair that they receive the support they deserve in recognition of their efforts.”

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