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Charites might be able to “fill the boot” again soon

A man holding a firefighter boot and waving down cars for donations
Senior Airman John D. Partlow
U.S. Air Force
The state attorney general said soliicitng motorists for "boot drives" and other charities is illegal. Now some lawmakers want to make it legal.

Charities might once again be able to tap on your car window to ask for a donation.

The practice was wiped out last August. That’s because the state attorney general issued an opinion saying it was illegal.  

Wednesday lawmakers in the state Senate passed a bill to legalize charitable solicitations at intersections.

Monty Nye is with the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union. He said their donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association got cut in half last year. That’s because they weren’t able to do their annual “fill the boot” drive.

“We have people every year we get out there say ‘oh you’re here, we’ve been waiting for you all summer,’” he said.

Nye said they hope the bill becomes law in time for them to once again do the Fill the Boot campaign in July.

Initially, some local governments expressed concerns about a blanket allowance for these types of fundraiser. Judy Allen is with the Michigan Townships Association. She said safety is a big concern.

“There are just some instances where it would not logically be safe to anyone in that intersection,” she said.

Lawmakers took these concerns into consideration when crafting the legislation.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, said they want to give local governments some control, particularly with safety.

“They feel an intersection is too dangerous, too heavily traveled, traffic’s going to fast; they have a right to say no to that particular spot,” he said.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R