Montgomery Co. bill would require permits for soliciting money, panhandling along roadways

Maryland

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — A new bill, recently introduced in Montgomery County, would require permits for soliciting money along high-speed roadways in the county.

The bill considers any road with a speed limit above 25 mph to be a “high-speed roadway.”

Anyone looking to collect money from drivers along those roads would need to have a permit, including those collecting donations for charity or panhandling for cash.

When introducing the bill Tuesday, its lead sponsor, Councilmember Craig Rice said the bill is not about deterring people from soliciting money from the median or roadside, but providing an opportunity to educate solicitors on roadway safety.

“If people are going to put themselves in harm’s way, we want to give them the tools necessary to try and keep them safe. We do it for construction workers on the side of the road, we give them yellow vests and tell them what the proper procedures are,” said Rice. “We should do the same when it comes to anyone standing in our medians. Nobody should be treated like they are any less if they are homeless or soliciting money for charity.”

Rice also cited several crashes in the county that have killed people standing along the roadway median. He said the county’s Department of Health and Human Services would issue the permits at multiple locations, including local homeless shelters.

The bill does not add criminal penalties or fines for those soliciting without a permit.

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