State Senate passes bill to legalize charity raffles - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

State Senate passes bill to legalize charity raffles

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Nonprofit groups such as senior citizens centers, civic clubs and schools could legally hold raffles in Oklahoma under a bill passed Wednesday by the Oklahoma Senate.

Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, said an attorney general's opinion a few years ago has made it difficult for charitable groups, including churches and police and fire organizations, to raise money through traditional raffles.

Shurden said he disagrees with Attorney General Drew Edmondson's interpretation that charity raffles will open the state up to lotteries and possible casino gambling by American Indian tribes.

Some senators said casino-type gambling already is occurring at Indian gaming places.

Others criticized a method proposed by the attorney general's office for charity groups to get around the anti-gambling statute by accepting donations but not selling raffle tickets.

``I just think it sends the wrong message to young people,'' said Sen. Charles Ford, R-Tulsa.

In effect, said Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, ``we're teaching them disrespect for the law.''

The bill was approved on a 28-15 vote and now goes to the House, where similar proposals have died in committee in recent years.

Senators passed a bill by Sen. Keith Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, that is designed to curb unsolicited telemarketing calls to citizens.

A similar measure has been passed by the House. Both bills require the attorney general to develop a ``no-call'' list which would be sent to telemarketers.

Leftwich said there is a possibility the proposed state law could be superseded by federal legislation now under consideration in Congress.

In other action, the Senate:

_ approved a bill to turn enforcement of parking laws in Oklahoma City and Tulsa over to private companies.

_ passed a bill to require that all crime labs in the state be nationally accredited by 2005.

_ voted 37-7 for a measure that allows insurance companies to cover property as well as medical costs in ``uninsured motorist'' clauses in motor vehicle insurance policies.
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