Bryan Cohen May 15, 2013, 5:45pm

ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday the proposal of sweeping, bipartisan legislation to overhaul the laws governing New York charities.

Schneiderman joined with state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-61st; Sen. Carl Marcellino, R-5th; Assemblyman Jim Brennan, D-44th; Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, D-41st; and Assemblyman Steve Englebright, D-4th, in the creation of the Nonprofit Revitalization Act and the Executive Compensation Reform Act.

The bills, which are the product of more than a year of deliberation and negotiation, would be the first significant reforms to the state's charity laws in more than 40 years.

"Nonprofit organizations provide critical services to New Yorkers across the state and represent a powerful engine for economic growth and stability," Schneiderman said in a statement. "We must work together with the nonprofit community to cut red tape while strengthening governance and oversight, and that's exactly what this legislation does. Our goal is to revitalize New York's charitable organizations and, at the same time, put a stop to the financial abuses that have come to light.

"I am grateful to Sens. Ranzenhofer and Marcellino and Assembly Members Brennan, Englebright, and Weinstein for their leadership and commitment to reform."

Nonprofit organizations in New York generate hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue and the sector is responsible for one out of every seven jobs in the state. Nonprofits face financial, strategic and governance challenges.

Schneiderman's office worked with nonprofit community stakeholders to strengthen the proposed reforms. His office first proposed charities reform last spring.

The Nonprofit Revitalization Act is meant to enhance nonprofit governance and oversight to improve public trust, and prevent fraud while reducing unnecessary and outdated burdens on nonprofits.

The Executive Compensation Reform Act would rein in excessive compensation and require additional oversight at large organizations.

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