Kansans vote to legalize charitable raffles

Kansans love their church raffles.

On Tuesday, Kansas voters approved a constitutional amendment by nearly 75 percent making raffles for nonprofit, charitable groups legal.

Although results were incomplete and unofficial, the measure was ahead by a wide margin Tuesday night.

Approving the raffle issue paves the way for Kansas to amend the state constitution and allow nonprofits such as school groups, churches and charities to have raffles – legally.

The ballot issue aimed to allow a limited kind of gambling as a fundraiser, a practice that’s legal in most other states.

The amendment will define a raffle as a game of chance in which each participant buys a ticket or tickets from a nonprofit organization, with each ticket providing an equal chance to win a prize and the winner being determined by a random drawing.

The next step will come during the legislative session, when lawmakers decide whether the nonprofit organizations will now need a license, how much those licenses will cost, how often a group can conduct raffles, and whether those sales will be taxed.

Fluoride in Salina

In another issue of area interest, Salina voters appeared headed toward approving the use of fluoride in the city’s water.

For nearly half a century, the city of Salina has had fluoride in its water.

Partial results late Tuesday suggested Salina voters favored keeping the ordinance that allowed the city to add fluoride.

The issue was up for a vote because a petition was submitted last summer to the Salina City Council by Salina Cares, an organization concerned about fluoride in the water.

“It looks like we are going to keep fluoride and that’s a good thing for Salina for generations to come,” said Allison Lesko, president of the Salina Dental Society. “We are very excited by those results.”

The results were disappointing to people like Lou Tyron, a retired elementary school teacher who campaigned against the fluoride. “Mostly I am disappointed because I wanted to help people who are sensitive and allergic to fluoride. I wanted them to have a better life,” Tyron said. “I have filters on my showers and I can go on with my life the way it has been, but a lot of people can’t afford to buy those things.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.