Proposed Ohio law could loosen rules on non-profits and alcohol gifts

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A bill is making its way through the Ohio House to expand the variety of fundraisers that non-profits can offer.

House Bill 389 would change the laws that restrict alcohol from being included as a fundraising item. This bipartisan legislation would allow churches or non-profit groups and organizations to gift alcohol as part of fundraising events.

Currently, in order to give away alcohol in Ohio as a prize, there is lengthy paperwork and approvals that have to happen. This bill would essentially get rid of those steps.

The lawmakers supporting the bill believe the current law is out of date and doesn’t fit the beliefs of our society.

The law would continue to help non-profits find new ways to promote their beliefs and raise more money for their cause.

Jason Cooke thinks the change is a good idea. He runs the non-profit Healthy Hearts and Paws Project. He says at a fundraiser earlier this year, the Liquor Control Board showed up and told him he wasn’t allowed to include gift alcohol as part of the fundraiser.

The Board worked with Cooke and didn’t seize his alcohol or impose any fines. He says a change in the law would be welcome.

“It’s the fact that a lot of the laws we have on the books can be deemed archaic, ambiguous and be confusing at times and honestly, prior to the fundraiser of mine, this had never been an issue,” Cooke said.

State Representative Michael O’Brien is a sponsor of the bill.

“It would allow us to continue what we’ve been doing and other organizations as well to responsibly offer wines and alcohols at fundraisers as gifts and allow us to raise as much needed funds for the dogs and cats that we help throughout the state of Ohio,” Cooke said.

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