TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith which would apply greater scrutiny and Statewide registration to charities raising funds in New Jersey was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 38-0, receiving final legislative approval.
“In times of crisis, Americans pull together and seek to help their fellow citizens,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex. “We saw it after the September 11th attacks, and we saw it most recently after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. What this bill seeks to do is to assure contributors that their charity dollars are going to the intended cause, and not in the pocket of a con-artist.”
The bill, S-204, would amend the “Charitable Registration and Investigation Act” to include all subcontractors and independent contractors who raise funds for a charity under the same provisions outlined for charities in the Act. The bill would also require enhanced disclosure from charities, upgrade penalties under the Act to the same level as those under the consumer fraud act, provide greater flexibility for smaller charities and enhance the Attorney General’s ability to enforce the Act.
“Charitable organizations provide so many necessary and worthwhile services, whether it’s a local volunteer first aid squad or the Red Cross,” said Senator Smith. “Each year, nationally, millions of dollars are spent in donations to charities, but without some sort of accounting of where the funds go, the ‘Good Samaritans’ who make those donations have no idea whether or not their money is being put to good use. With the enhanced regulations under this bill, they’ll now be able to have the peace of mind in knowing their money is making a difference in helping the charity complete their mission.”
The bill was approved by the Senate originally in March of 2004, and was approved by the Assembly earlier today by a vote of 73-0. It now heads to the Governor’s Office to be signed into law.