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Environmental group protests soliciting rules

By The Associated Press

09.14.02

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — While residents seem to be pleased with a new law restricting visits from solicitors, an environmental group says it infringes on its right to free speech.

The township board on Sept. 9 adopted an ordinance limiting solicitors to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., or sunset, whichever comes first.

"When I come home, I want to eat dinner and sit down and rest, not have someone banging on my door," resident Charles Vickers told The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens for a story published this week.

But members of the Clean Water Action group say the measure limits their ability to find people at home to ask for contributions or sign petitions, especially in winter months when the sun sets before 6 p.m.

The group has been canvassing the Macomb County community to discuss water and sewage issues for the past two years.

Timothy Lozen, an attorney for the nonprofit group, says a legal challenge is likely.

"Door-to-door canvassing is the lifeblood of Clean Water Action," he said. "The only effective time to reach people is in the evening when people are home. The courts have recognized the need to balance these issues."

The measure was passed following complaints from homeowners who said Clean Water Action activists routinely stopped by in the evening hours.

Related

High court throws out law barring door-to-door solicitation
Justices vote 8 to 1 in Ohio case brought by Jehovah's Witnesses that First Amendment includes right to take messages directly to someone's door.  06.17.02

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