Apr. 07, 2021

HARRISBURG – Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) joined an overwhelming majority in the state House Wednesday in voting for a bill to help the state’s fire and ambulance companies, veterans and other service organizations with fundraising.

“Our region is blessed by so many people who donate their time and talents to protecting public safety and supporting our veterans, students and the entire community,” Dowling said. “These organizations have really struggled with fundraising because of COVID-19 restrictions, and this bill will finally give them some other much-needed options to raise the money they need to keep their doors open.

“I want to thank fellow Fayette County Rep. Ryan Warner for his hard work in advancing this bill through the House, and the late Rep. Mike Reese, who first introduced it with Warner last session because they both knew how much these important service organizations were struggling and wanted to help,” he added.

House Bill 290 would specifically authorize organizations that hold Small Games of Chance (SGOC) licenses to conduct online raffles and drawings, and use a mobile payment service (such as PayPal or Venmo) for payment; credit cards would not be permitted. Participants would have to be verified as residing within the Commonwealth and be at least 18 years of age. The bill also was amended to increase individual prize limits to $4,000 and weekly prize limits to $50,000 to further aid fundraising efforts.

“If not for the extensive fundraising efforts of our volunteer fire companies, for example, every citizen in every community would be paying a fire tax on top of the other taxes we already pay,” Dowling said. “We expect our firefighters and all first responders to be ready and willing to help us when we need it. We owe them the same, and that’s the goal of the legislation passed by the House today.”

Dowling also pointed to veterans groups and other social clubs that support things like scholarships, youth sports and Scouting, which are so important to the community.

The changes made by the bill would expire with the expiration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency or May 1, 2022, whichever is later.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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