Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Judge Blocks Boise Anti-Street Solicitation Ordinance

By Patrick Sullivan - January 3, 2014

A federal judge has blocked implementation of a street solicitation ordinance in Boise, Idaho, at least initially agreeing with the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho (ACLUI) and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) . U.S. District Federal Court Judge Edward J. Lodge ruled the ordinance violates the First Amendment rights of street solicitors.

“Certainly, the First Amendment can lead to public inconvenience and annoyance, but such is a minor price to pay when the non-aggressive solicitations at issue can easily be ignored or avoided,” wrote Lodge in the decision. “The public’s interest in restricting a person from asking for money in a non-aggressive manner does not outweigh a person’s right to make a request for a charitable contribution.”

The ACLUI and the NLCHP represented two homeless men, Larry Shanks and Troy Minton. Shanks, a street performer, and Minton, a panhandler, said the ordinance violated their First Amendment right to free speech, as well as the equal protection clause under the Fourteenth Amendment. They also argued the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague.

“While it is true City’s purpose in passing the ordinance appears to be focused on reducing ‘panhandling’ versus fundraising by non-profit organizations, the wording of the ordinance could arguably be applied to consensual solicitation efforts by non-profit organizations on sidewalks and sidewalk cafes in downtown Boise,” wrote Lodge in the decision.

Lodge enjoined the city of Boise from enforcing the ordinance on public property, public transportation and private property that is open to the public. He did not enjoin the city from enforcing the ordinance on roadways or on private property that is not open to the public or aggressive solicitation.

“The City of Boise is pleased that the court’s ruling did not affect two key portions of the ordinance, those banning aggressive solicitation and solicitation in the roadway,” said Michael Zuzel, a spokesman for Boise Mayor Dave Bieter via a statement. “Although the ordinance was to go into effect (January 2), the City’s plan has always been to emphasize education rather than enforcement for the first several months. The Mayor and City Council will review the court’s ruling before determining next steps.”

According to the decision, the ordinance was passed in September 2013 due to the concerns of Boise residents and business owners that panhandling has been on the rise in the city in recent years. The ordinance defined solicitation as speech aimed to garner “money or other thing of value,” according to the decision. The ordinance would not have restricted solicitation of petition signatures or other actions.

“We are grateful that the Court validated the concerns of the plaintiffs and upheld the constitutional right to free speech,” said ACLUI legal director Richard Eppink, via a statement. NLCHP director of human rights and children’s rights programs Eric Tars said “We thank Judge Lodge for affirming what numerous other courts and the federal government have already said numerous times.” Neither the ACLUI nor the Washington, D.C.-based NLCHP responded to requests for further comment.


Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.

Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up

click here to return to the previous page