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Appeals court: Bans on outdoor charity collection bins unconstitutional

Joe Gratz

A federal appeals court says a central Michigan city cannot enforce its ordinance that bans outdoor charity collection  bins.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a judge's temporary restraining order against the city of St. Johns, which is north of Lansing.

The court affirmed a district court's decision that the ban likely violates the free speech rights of the clothing charity, Planet Aid.

"A city cannot simply eliminate all clothing and shoe donation bins," said Daniel Dalton, an attorney for Planet Aid. "What it can do is regulate them in a reasonable manner." Dalton said these regulations can cover things like  location, insurance, and timely pick-up.

St. Johns adopted the ordinance banning donation boxes in January 2014. The year before, the city removed Planet Aid's two donation bins, claiming they created a nuisance. 

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom