Twp. board amends traffic safety ordinance

FLINT TWP. — The township board has revised its controversial Traffic Safety Ordinance to comply with changes in state law.

The ordinance prohibiting solicitation in the street, was based on the Michigan Traffic Code and was first passed in January 2015 to address a growing problem with panhandlers on street corners. Effective March 1, 2015, the ordinance regulated interference with motor vehicles on public streets by prohibiting money or any other object to be passed, without authorization, from or into a motor vehicle operating on a public street, except for emergency services and repairs.

The ordinance was amended in October 2017 to comply with a change in state law that allowed 501(c)(3), charitable organizations such as the Old Newsboys to resume street solicitations, with restrictions.

After a second reading Monday night, the board voted unanimously in favor of an additional ordinance amendment to expand the definition of allowed charitable organizations to include those qualified under 501(c) (4), 501(c)(7), 501(c)(8) or 501(c)(10) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a veterans’ organization that has tax-exempt status under the IRS code.

The remainder of Ordinance remains unchanged including conditions set when the ordinance was revised last year. Those include that the soliciting organization carries liability insurance; that collectors be at least 18 years old and wear high visibility clothing in compliance with safety equipment standards; that the collections take place at intersections with traffic lights or stop signs and be conducted only during daylight hours. Also, collections cannot take place in a work zone and local government units still have some say on when and where street collections are permitted. Only one charitable organization at a time will be allowed in any roadway for collection, according to the township ordinance

Supervisor Karyn Miller noted for the record that township’s original ordinance mimicked state law and that the amendments also mimic state law.

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