June 19, 2019

Assembly Passes Legislation Making Childcare Costs a Legitimate Campaign Expense

Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal today announced the Assembly has passed legislation that would allow campaign funds to be used for childcare expenses when they are incurred during an election campaign or in the execution of the duties of public office or party position (A.1108-B, Rosenthal).

"There are currently 50 women representatives in the New York State Assembly, a record number of whom are committee chairs or hold high leadership positions," said Speaker Heastie. "Their contributions are immeasurable and they are an invaluable asset to our democracy. This legislation ensures childcare will not be a prohibitive barrier to women considering running for and holding office."

"Parenthood and child care expenses should not be barriers to running for elected office. Representation of all stories and lived experiences is vital, and this legislation will help ensure that parents, particularly mothers, are not prevented from running for office and telling their stories and effecting meaningful change for similarly situated New Yorkers and their families," said Assemblymember Rosenthal. "By treating child care as a legitimate campaign expense, we help ensure that all people, regardless of family status, are not deterred from running for public office."

In 2018, Congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley petitioned the Federal Election Commission and became the first woman in history to receive federal approval to spend campaign funds on childcare. In response to a subsequent request for an advisory opinion from the New York State Board of Elections, the board concluded that campaign funds could be used for childcare "incurred as a direct result of the guardian's participation in a campaign activity."

In New York, campaign finance laws prohibit a candidate from using campaign funds for "personal use" but campaign funds may be used for any lawful purpose related to an election campaign or the holding of a public office or party position. This bill enacts into law the State Board of Elections opinion on the use of such funds for campaign activity and extends authorization for the use of campaign funds to those childcare expenses incurred in the execution of the duties of public office or party position.