ALBANY – Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday signed legislation to allow state and local candidates to use campaign funds to pay for child care expenses, enabling more parents to run for public office.
Specifically, the bill amends state election law to allow campaign funds to be used to pay child care expenses that are “incurred in the campaign or in the execution of the duties of public office or party position.” The bill’s provisions are effective in 60 days.
“Women face too many barriers when it comes to running for office and frankly child care expenses shouldn’t be one of them,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing this measure into law, we will build on the historic progress we’ve made toward gender equality and empower more parents – and mothers in particular – to seek public office to ensure the decision makers in Albany reflect the people they are elected to represent.”
“We are committed to continuing to break down barriers for women in New York,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the NYS Child Care Availability Task Force. “I know firsthand the challenges mothers, and all parents, face running for office and balancing responsibilities at home, work, and on the campaign trail. Despite more women being elected in the state and nationwide, women are still underrepresented at all levels of public office. This legislation will make it easier for women to run for office and advances our efforts to achieve full equality for all.”
In New York, about 33 percent of the state’s executive and legislative officials are women, compared with a national average of 29 percent of state executive and legislative officials, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
Governor Cuomo launched the Child Care Availability Task Force in 2018, which is tasked with examining solutions to ensure that families of all income levels have access to child care in New York without risking their employment or the quality of care. Additionally, the FY 2019 Enacted Budget provided more than $800 million dedicated to helping low-income families access child care.