VAINIERI HUTTLE & STENDER BILL STREAMLINING ASSISTANCE FOR CHARITIES BECOMES LAW

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Linda Stender requiring the state to provide an online clearinghouse of information for nonprofit organizations that provide services in New Jersey has now become law.

Currently, to acquire information regarding existing resources that are being offered by various executive departments and state agencies, nonprofits must troll through each department’s and agency’s website to obtain information that is many times hard to find or not featured prominently.

“This portal will provide a one stop location where nonprofits can obtain information and links to various state agencies and departments that provide information and resources,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “All of this information will be easily accessible through one website, making it less burdensome for nonprofits to provide valuable services so vital to the well-being of communities throughout our state.”

“The less complicated we can make it for nonprofits to serve our state, the better it will be for residents who benefit from their invaluable work,” said Stender (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “Just as we’re working to cut red tape for businesses, we should work to cut red tape for nonprofits, especially with this difficult economy making their work so vital.”

The new law (A-2173) will require the Department of State to create a central location on its homepage linking to each individual department’s nonprofit information. Furthermore, each state department or agency that provides resources to nonprofit organizations shall maintain in a single accessible location on its designated home website information regarding various resources available to assist nonprofit organizations in their daily operations.

The information featured shall be updated at least monthly and include, but not be limited to: (1) available funding sources offered by the department or agency; (2) relevant eligibility criteria applicable to such funding; (3) volunteer opportunities available with or through the department or agency; and (4) any other information the Secretary of State deems necessary. The website shall be accessible from the designated home website of each such department or agency.

The bill was approved 75-0 by the Assembly and 37-0 by the Senate in March. Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the bill earlier this month, requiring that the Department of State’s website serve as the main portal link to non-profit information within each state agency and department, rather than requiring the creation of an entirely new website.