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Can a township prohibit charitable or civic organizations from soliciting in an intersection within the township?

No. A recent amendment to the Motor Vehicle Code (MCL 257.676b) expressly permits charitable and civic organizations to solicit in the streets. The amendment further prohibits a township (or any local municipality) from adopting any ordinance prohibiting such soliciting.  Those townships that ban charitable or civic organizations from soliciting have until September 25, 2017 to amend local regulations consistent with MCL 257.676b. The amendment does permit townships to adopt local restrictions.

The amendment resulted from previous language of the Motor Vehicle Code and the Uniform Traffic Code prohibiting charitable or civic organizations from soliciting in the streets. The Michigan Attorney General highlighted the prohibition in its July 29, 2016 opinion (Opn No. 7291). According to the Attorney General, both MCL 257.676b of the Motor Vehicle Code and Rule 713 of the Uniform Traffic Code prohibited a person from soliciting contributions in support of a charitable or civic organization in the improved portion of a roadway.

In response, the Legislature adopted this amendment expressly permitting solicitation by charitable or civic organizations in the roadway during daylight hours, if the following are satisfied:

  1. The organization complies with local regulation restricting such activity;
  2. The organization maintains at least $500,000.00 in liability insurance;
  3. The person soliciting is older than 18 years of age and is wearing certified high-visibility safety apparel; and
  4. The solicitation occurs within an intersection where traffic control devices are present and is not a work zone.

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