TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey passed a law on Thursday allowing candidates running for office to use campaign funds for child care, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.
“Public office holders and candidates often juggle parenting, their full-time careers, and their work in office and on the campaign trail,” said Gov. Murphy. “No one should be excluded from running for or serving in office because they cannot find or afford child care. I am proud to sign this legislation that will allow those looking to serve our state to use campaign contributions for child care.”
Under the new law, expenses may be paid from campaign contributions if the expenses are for providing care for the well-being and protection of the child outside of the home, in a child care facility, or in the home of the office holder or candidate. Eligible expenses will be those that result directly from activities in which the office holder or candidate engage for the purposes of holding office or a campaign for public office, and would not have otherwise been incurred but for those activities. Child care expenses will not include payments to a member of the office holder’s or candidate’s household.
The legislation was sponsored by three Democratic state senators, two Democratic Assemblymembers and one Republican Assemblymember.
“This law will help parents avoid the difficult situation of juggling childcare and running for public office with hopes of serving their communities,” said State Sen. M. Theresa Ruiz, a co-sponsor. “With this change, parents and especially women who are traditionally the main caretaker, 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 impedes some women from running for office and I am grateful Governor Murphy saw the value in it as well.”
The bill passed the state senate by a 36-0 margin, while passing the state assembly by a 66-5 margin.
New York passed a similar bill into law in 2019.