Proposed City of Florence Ordinance Violates First Amendment Rights

Monday, 29 June 2015 Posted in Attorney Articles

The City of Florence has proposed an ordinance which, as currently written, creates far too many unintended consequences. If passed, this ordinance inadvertently makes it a crime for neighbors to interact among neighbors after certain times of the evening.

Specifically, after 8:00 pm when Daylight Saving Time is in effect and 6:00 p.m. when Eastern Standard Time is in effect, no person may go place to place, house to house, or street to street requesting a person’s commitment of time, requesting orders of goods or merchandise, requesting other personal property, or requesting services. Thus, you cannot approach your neighbor to go to a community event (a commitment of time), you cannot ask your neighbor for a cup of flour (other personal property), your child cannot sell school wrapping papers or donuts, children can no longer trick-or-treat, girl scouts can no longer sell their cookies, political candidates can no longer go door to door asking for you to go to the poll to vote...

The ordinance includes an entire section criminalizing charitable solicitations.  Further, despite the heading on each ordinance seemingly prohibiting door to door solicitation, the ordinance is much broader – it prevents you from going “place to place”, “house to house” or “street to street”.  Arguably, you could not do the same activities noted above at Wal-Mart, Freedom Florence, or any other public or private place or on your street or any street in the city.  While Gary does not believe the Council intended for the ordinance to be so overbroad and far reaching, it is as currently written. Please read the attached letter Gary wrote to City Council.  If you wish to prevent this legislation from substantially interfering with our freedom and liberty, take action now!  Remember Benjamin Franklin’s words: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." The final reading of this ordinance is scheduled Monday, July 13.

City of Florence Ordinance Details