Harris County considering banning soliciting in the street

But charities and fundraisers would be impacted just the same as panhandlers
January 29, 2014 4:05:22 PM PST
Harris County commissioners are considering banning solicitation on county roads, medians and stoplights.

Commissioners say they want to keep both solicitors and drivers safe.

"It is incredibly dangerous and we all know of certain intersections where people wander out into the lanes of traffic," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

But some say an all-encompassing ordinance doesn't make sense. Houston Chronicle employees sell newspapers on medians and intersections every weekend. None of them have ever been hurt doing so.

Organizations like the Houston Professional Firefighters Association collect money on streets and medians as part of their popular MDA "fill the boot" campaign. If the ordinance passes, they would be banned from doing so.

The city of Houston has a similar ordinance that allows fundraising groups to obtain permits. But some commissioners worry making exceptions will lead to discrimination and lawsuits.

The ordinance is still under discussion. If they choose to move forward with adopting the ordinance, commissioners would hold several public hearings.

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