The County Council near Baltimore approved a regulation that stiffens penalties against those who solicit donations along roads without a permit.
The bill's sponsor, Councilman Vincent Gardina, may have intended to cut down on the number of homeless people who beg for money along streets in the county, but it is also going to affect volunteer firefighters who run a "Fill the Boot" campaign.
According to an article by Laura Greenback in the Times-Herald, the fire department collects up to $40,000 each year from drivers who stuff bills into their retired boots during the campaigns. Fill the Boot days usually occur on high-traffic days like Labor Day, Black Friday, Memorial Day, Easter, and sometimes Independence Day.
The permitting process is simply extra work for volunteer firemen who are already very busy saving lives and property, said Jim Doran, a volunteer at the Lutherville Volunteer fire company, and the county’s department administrator for the volunteer fire company system.I don't know this Vincent Gardina guy, but I wonder if he has any track record of providing increased funding to the fire department.
“We never know who is going to be available at any one time, so we end up having to submit the names of every member of the company. That can be a lot of names,” Doran said. “It’s more paperwork. It’s a nuisance. We might grumble a little bit, but we understand that it’s what we have to do.”