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Ruiz, Cunningham Bill to Permit use of Campaign Funds to Pay for Child Care Clears Senate

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Sandra Cunningham, which would permit using campaign funds to pay for child care in certain instances, cleared the Senate today.

“This bill strives to help parents avoid the difficult decision of juggling childcare and running for public office to serve their communities,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “With this bill parents, especially women who often take on more of the childcare responsibilities, will have the support they deserve to make the dream of running for office a reality.

“It is an honor to sponsor legislation removing an obstacle that may impede some women from running for office. The more inclusive and diverse the individuals sitting around our policy decision-making tables, the better the outcomes are for the public.”

The bill, S-2943, would permit candidates using campaign funds to pay for child care expenses incurred as the direct result of campaign activity and which the candidate would not incur otherwise.

“When we have a more diverse group of people at the decision making table, the outcomes are better for everyone. For many working class New Jerseyans, especially women, running for office is simply not financially feasible,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “This bill would ease the burden, making the dream of running for office a reality.”

In May 2018, the Federal Election Commission ruled federal candidates could use campaign funds to pay for childcare costs resulting from time spent running for office. This bill would extend the federal provision, making it accessible to state and local candidates.

In 2019, California, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York and Tennessee have bills introduced in their state legislatures on this issue.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 34-3.