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Covington lifts door-to-door selling ban

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COVINGTON, La. (AP) — The Covington City Council has changed an ordinance to permit door-do-door solicitation after a city attorney said the ban violated the U.S. Constitution.

Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reported (http://bit.ly/1kngS0U) the council acted at its Aug. 5 meeting. The council also imposed a requirement that door-to-door solicitors must obtain a city permit.

Nonprofit and charitable groups are exempt from the permit requirement.

City Councilman Lee Alexius said Covington tightened its door-to-door solicitation regulations several years ago, effectively banning the practice.

City attorney Julian Rodrigue said the law was challenged recently by two companies that sought permits to sell door-to-door.

He said case law supports the position that door-to-door solicitation is protected under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The reworked ordinance requires door-to-door solicitors to obtain a city permit for $100.

City Councilman Rick Smith asked whether Girl Scouts selling cookies or other charitable and nonprofit groups would be breaking the law if they did not acquire a permit. After discussion, the council amended the ordinance to exempt such groups from the solicitation requirements.

The ordinance also establishes a time window during the day within which solicitors can call. Solicitation is banned on Sundays.

Solicitors are prohibited from entering private premises that are posted with signs saying solicitation is not allowed.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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