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Charitable solitations disclosures

SB 582, c. 446

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Charitable solicitations; disclosures. Creates a procedure for law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other public safety employees of a local agency to obtain approval form the city or county to engage in charitable solicitation activities on public roadways, notwithstanding any local ordinance that restricts such activity.

According to the author's office and the sponsor, the California Professional Firefighters, there has been a recent increase in local ordinances limiting or prohibiting aggressive begging or panhandling. Reportedly, such ordinances are so broadly defined they potentially prohibit certain charitable street solicitation activities by firefighters and other legitimate organizations.

The author's office and sponsor point to "fill-the-boot" charitable fundraising events where firefighters use public streets and corners to solicit donations from passing motorists as an example of how current law affects these solicitation campaigns. The author's office argues that because of broadly defined local ordinances (and the lack of statewide procedure) such solicitation activity on local streets or thoroughfares are generally prohibited.

This bill, the author states, creates for the first time a statewide procedure for certain solicitation activities by a small class of charitable fundraisers. Finally, the author's office and sponsor suggest that because of the longstanding tradition and relationship between law enforcement, firefighters, and public safety personnel and the charitable causes they actively support, this bill is needed to protect their charitable fundraising activities while also safeguarding the integrity of any locally adopted ordinance.