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January 16, 2014

Fla. Bill Proposes Sweeping Changes to Nonprofit Regulations

A bill introduced Wednesday in Florida's legislature would require much greater financial and personnel disclosure by charities and give state officials new powers to crack down on groups that spend most of their donation revenue on fundraising, the Tampa Bay Times writes.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose office regulates nonprofits in Florida, termed the measure a "complete rewrite" of the state's charity laws. He and Sen. Jeff Brandes, a co-sponsor of the bill, said it was prompted by last year's "America's Worst Charities" series by the Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, which spotlighted organizations that spend pennies of each dollar they raise on mission activities while paying hundreds of millions to professional solicitors.

Among other provisions, the bill would require charities that register with the state to disclose far more information about their leadership, salaries, and fundraising expenses; mandate audited financial reports from groups that raise more than $1-million a year; and give officials greater leeway to bar charities and regulate solicitation firms. The Florida Nonprofit Alliance has endorsed the measure.