Saturday, February 14, 2015
Pennsylvania Lawmakers Seek To Enact Constitutional Amendment Limiting Judicial Interpretation of Nonprofits
The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering a constitutional amendment that would give the General Assembly the sole authority to set the standard for “purely public charities.” According to a memo from Senators Ryan P. Aument (R) and Joseph B. Scarnati (R), the Amendment is apparently in response to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case Mesivtah v. Pike County Board of Assessment Appeals. The court held that that Camp Mesivtah was not a purely public charity even though it qualified under the Pennsylvania Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act. The proposed constitutional amendment is purported to overrule the Mesivtah decision and obviate the need for the judiciary to interpret or set standards regarding the requirements for tax exempt status.
The Pennsylvania Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act may reflect the will of the General Assembly, but is a constitutional amendment going to keep the courts out of the business of interpreting the Act? Read more here.