TRENTON, N.J. – Today the Legislature voted to approve a measure (S2342/A3915) sponsored by Assemblywomen Aura Dunn and Yvonne Lopez and Assemblyman Brian Bergen to allow nonprofit corporations to hold meetings in part, or solely, by means of remote communication during a state of emergency.
Dunn, who has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector working for Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit board for Sesame Street), Jump Start: Children First (an early education organization), and Morris Habitat for Humanity, said she was made aware of a law that treated for-profit and non-profit corporations differently. For-profit corporations had already been afforded the ability to meet virtually, but there was no law extending that right to nonprofits.
“When the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey brought this lack of parity to my attention, I immediately authored this legislation to level the playing field,” said Dunn (R-Morris). “The truth of the matter is, nonprofits are doing the work of the people 24/7 during this crisis. My bill now prevents any unnecessary interruptions in the delivery of their services.”
The bill amends the New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act to remove the requirements that meetings be held in a physical location during a state of emergency. Under current law, meetings of members must be held in-person and there is no provision to allow members to participate remotely.
“Non-profit organizations are oftentimes the backbone of our communities, whose collective efforts make a difference in the everyday lives of our residents,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “Every one of us, including these organizations, must find ways to continue to do work from a safe place, practicing social distancing and helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This small technical change in the law will aid organizations who continue to do their best to help those in need.”
During states of emergency, nonprofit corporation members participating remotely would be deemed present and allowed to vote.
“With the technology we have today, remote meetings are not only possible, but very practical,” said Bergen (R-Morris), a member of the VFW and American Legion. “It allows nonprofits to save money and time on reserving physical space and increases accessibility to these meetings. We have to keep up with the times and evolve under the current circumstances.”
If signed by the governor, the act would take effect immediately.