A sweeping charities reform package is breezing through the Legislature despite earlier concerns that legitimate philanthropies might be harmed by new rules.
The House bill received unanimous support in three committees and is now ready for a vote on the floor. The Senate bill has one more committee, and members who had been worried about reputable charities now say their issues have been addressed.
"I believe that those concerns have been worked out with the bill sponsor and I've been assured that those concerns are no longer valid," said Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who was one of two senators to vote against the proposal during its first committee hearing.
State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam started working on what has been called the most extensive rewrite of state charities laws after reading an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting called "America's Worst Charities.'' His office's responsibilities include charity oversight, and his staff has been tweaking the bill to deal with concerns as they arise.