Membership! As all posts know, we hit a proverbial “brick wall” on our membership renewals and new members. As we all experience the same obstacles, we need to work through them and keep our membership up. The importance is significant for our organization, but especially now, it is essential for all the Legion posts in our Commonwealth. The emphasis of many posts and/or the clubs they operate has focused on the business of the club room. While the weekly income of your club’s operation is necessary to facilitate the bottom line of its business, our posts must maintain a strong Legionnaire membership. In recent years, the IRS has looked for ways to chip away at nonprofit organizations. The mandatory requirement for all posts and all post clubs to individually submit an IRS Form 990 is clear evidence of that! Don’t let them open that door! A strong Legionnaire membership is the best deterrent to anyone questioning our legitimacy. Those posts with a good business operation should immediately earmark funds to recruit, retain and solicit new members into your post’s rolls! Whether this comes from small games of chance proceeds or from some other source, posts and their club rooms need to make this a definite priority! If you are understanding this and agree it needs addressed, call us here at your Department headquarters, your District Commander, your Section Vice Commander, our Department Commander, our membership committee or any or all of us! We will assist you in working membership for your post!
The Department Oratorical Contest Finals are 10 am on 11th of March at the Harrisburg Forum. The date is on a Saturday so parking is readily available! The Harrisburg Forum is a beautiful venue and is a most fitting location to hold one of our Department’s premier programs. Aside from the impressive youth representing each section of our Department, there is no charge to any attendees! The three contestants will compete for scholarship money totaling $16,500.00 for their efforts. The winner will not only receive $7,500.00, he or she will move on to represent Pennsylvania at our National Oratorical Finals in Indianapolis, IN, where they will compete for even more prize money. If you can attend, I promise you will leave impressed.
The National Commander’s tour dates are set and will be held Monday evening March 20th at Lancaster Post 34 for the Eastern Section, Tuesday March 21st at Middletown Post 594 for the Central Section, and March 22nd at Jeannette Post 344 in the Western Section. We encourage all posts to take an ad in the dinner booklets, send post representatives to support the post’s efforts in hosting this event, and to hear from our National Commander Charles E. Schmidt as he will give a great speech! Help us show our “Pennsylvania Pride” as we host our American Legion National Commander.
March 31 to April 2, our Department Executive Committee meeting will be held at the Red Lion Hotel (formally Holiday Inn East) in Harrisburg. Reservation forms have been mailed out to all posts and you can also print it out from our website at www.pa-legion.com. This weekend will also be our Department Commander Carl Olshefskie’s Testimonial Dinner in the hotel on Saturday evening, 1 April 2017.
All posts need to note a change in the 2017 re-enrollment year for the no cost LIT AD&D Program of $1,000 free and $5,000 if on Legion business. When you register now it will be for life! The process is simple and it works. Call toll free 1-800-235-6943, or register online at www.thelit.com. This includes the members of the SAL and Auxiliary too. Please get this information out to your membership!
Posts who have an SAL Squadron and/or an ALR Chapter, please remember any and all checking accounts associated with either group should have one (1) signature required from a Legion post officer/Legionnaire. Both the SAL and ALR are programs of the post and as such they must be monitored by the individual American Legion post.
A new law has been passed in Pennsylvania allowing 501(C)(3) American Legion’s home associations to transfer property to the American Legion post without having to pay a property transfer tax. Transfer of realty state transfer tax has been an issue with several of our posts wanting to abide by our post bylaws. All posts may now transfer the ownership of your home association property to your American Legion Post and NOT have to pay the Transfer Tax.
Many posts have questioned the legal distribution of the Small Games Of Chance proceeds. The question of whether a home association may donate to their host American Legion post is absolutely yes. Note: a post may not demand or make it a mandate that the 60% automatically goes to the post. This is where the home association and the post must have a good working relationship. If they don’t, it will hurt both parties. The distribution of the 60% MUST be made at the home association meeting from the SGOC account and it needs to be voted on and committed to the minutes. The process is legal and differs from other non-veteran organizations (Moose, Elks and others). As by the law, we the veterans service organization (The American Legion), are now considered an organization “For the Public Good”; the same as fire departments are considered. If you have an LCE/LCB agent telling you anything different, please get him or her to put it in writing and contact us at your Department headquarters immediately.
This is a touchy subject, but it is one that can affect our organizations ability to operate. There is a new electronic gaming skills machine, Pennsylvania Skill, and it is already in some of our clubs. The LCB/LCE has informed us they are NOT legal in 66 PA counties (Beaver is the only county where they are currently legal, and although a judge there ruled they were legal, that ruling only applies to Beaver County). Just as importantly, there are a few legislators & LCE questioning our argument on the SGOC profit/money split 60/40, where we successfully made the argument our clubs/posts couldn’t survive with that 40%. Now our clubs/posts can use the 60/40 split in its entity. That’s 100%! Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t get any better than 100%. If we take into account these new skill machines are averaging 65% back to the vendor, we are opening the door for the LCB/LCE and our general assembly to revisit our being able to control 100% of SGOC funds. If you look at the business end, most of our clubs’ customers have an expendable income they gamble with. The amounts vary, but most clubs can count on this money from month to month. If you remove a percentage of that amount, like the 65% to the vendor, it is less cash going to the club. Why anyone would jeopardize our SMOC agreement over these machines is beyond me. I received a call from a post/club telling me the reason they love the machines is they do not have to fill out any reports on the income and pay-outs. Well, if such machines were to become legal, it is safe to state there will be paperwork involved and you most certainly will never see 100% going to the post/club.
We are accepting donations to make our Department headquarters ADA compliant, and to update/upgrade our building. We hope to spruce up our building for the upcoming 100th anniversary. If your post can assist us in this endeavor, please send your contribution noting the donation to the building upgrade fund.
Our Department emails have been updated. If you want to be included on the master email list, simply go to our Department website at www.pa-legion.com and click on the email icon and register your information. This list is for the sole use of our Department and will not be shared with any outside source. It will guarantee mass email distribution, including group emails, which will be sent to as many contacts and groups as we want to include. If you also want to receive a message or text on your phone, we will add you to the list with the past commanders and current officers added to the list first.
Until next time ………… Kit