ASSEMBLY, No. 2969




DATED:  MAY 11, 2006


      The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee reports favorably an Assembly Committee Substitute for Assembly Bill No. 2969.

      This Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee Substitute regulates donation clothing bins.  The substitute supplements the "Charitable Registration and Investigation Act," P.L.1994, c.16 (C.45:17A-18 et seq.), by requiring that all donation clothing bins be owned by a registered charitable organization and imposing additional reporting and consumer disclosure requirements on those organizations.

      Under the substitute, the registered charitable organization must obtain a permit from the local law enforcement agency within the municipality in which the donation clothing bin will be placed.  The substitute specifies that a permit shall not be granted if the local law enforcement agency determines that the placement of the bin could constitute a safety hazard.

      The substitute requires the registered charity, and any other entity which may share or profit from collected donations, to maintain a bona fide office.  In addition, certain disclosures are required on the exterior of the bin, including the name and contact information of any entity other than the registered charity which may share or profit from donations collected via the bin.

      Under the substitute, the Director of Consumer Affairs and the local law enforcement agency must receive and investigate any complaints they receive from the public about the donation clothing bins.  If it is determined that a violation of this substitute’s provisions has occurred, the registered charitable organization would be issued a warning, which would have to be posted on the bin itself.  If the violation is not rectified in 45 days, the director or the local law enforcement agency could seize or remove the bin at the expense of the registered charitable organization, and the organization would be required to forfeit any donations collected via the bin.  The substitute permits the enforcing entity to either sell at public auction or otherwise dispose of any donations it seizes or removes.  The proceeds from the sale would be retained by the entity that seized the bin.  For other violations of the "Charitable Registration and Investigation Act," a warning would not be issued, but the director or local law enforcement agency could apply to the Superior Court for an order to seize the bin and for forfeiture and sale of the donations.

      In addition to any other penalties or remedies provided for in the "Charitable Registration and Investigation Act," the substitute would set penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation of its provisions which results in seizure of the donation clothing bin.  Also, registered charitable organizations which have had a bin seized would be ineligible to place unattended donation clothing bins in the future, unless their eligibility is restored by the Director of Consumer Affairs.