Hand knocking on the door

The Cleburne City Council, during its Tuesday meeting, discussed proposed changes to the city’’s peddlers and solicitors code of ordinances and approved a rezoning request for the Gone With the Wind Remembered Museum.

Cleburne Police Chief Rob Severance and Lt. Gary Moseley presented the proposals.

“These ordinances were last revised in 1976,” Severance said. “In discussions with our city attorney concerning changes in case law that have occurred since we are bringing this for discussion. We’ve reviewed many of these issues with the city attorney and among myself and my staff.”

The new proposal adds a purpose statement, Moseley said, something the current ordinances lack.

“Basically it’s to provide for the health, public safety and welfare of the city in regulating how solicitors operate within the city and requiring a registration to add in crime detection and deter fraud,” Moseley said.

Under the proposals soliciting would be limited to between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or dark, whichever is earlier and would prohibit soliciting on Sunday and federal holidays.

The proposal adds an offence to those who solicit homes with a no solicitors sign posted as well as, in certain cases, solicitors who leave handbills at residences.

Those soliciting handbills would be required to wear a traffic safety vest.

The proposal makes if an offense to solicit without a valid registration certificate and adds several registration fees. Those include $50 for a person, firm, organization or single agent and $10 for each additional agent associated with that person or group. The proposal also includes a $50 fee for those sponsoring minors as solicitors. 

Moseley added that there will be no fee for non-profit organizations.

To obtain a registration certificate a person will need a valid driver’s license or state ID and to submit two frontal photos with 60 days of application. They will also need to provide vehicle information, proof of insurance and their employer’s name, address and phone number.

Applicants must also disclose whether they’ve been convicted of fraud, theft, embezzlement or burglary within the past 10 years and whether they or their employer has a civil judgment or administrative decision entered against them in the last 10 years.

Under the proposal, prior convictions or judgments will not disqualify an applicant from issuance of a permit, Moseley said.

Mayor Scott Cain suggested that it should disqualify those with previous convictions.

Minors involved in solicitation will have to be supervised by an adult at all times, provide identification information and present a notarized parental consent.

The proposal removes the requirement of a bond.

“Bond requirements are often successfully challenged in court,” Moseley said.

Solicitors would also be required to wear photo ID tags and post a sign in a conspicuous place in their vehicle identifying themselves and their company.

The proposals also change the appeal system for those turned down for an application.

Moseley said he studied the ordinances of several area cities in drafting the proposals.

Council members generally voiced approval of the proposals but raised questions concerning who they would and would not apply to, real estate agents, political candidates and parties, for example.

Council members intend to discuss the proposals further before voting on whether or not to adopt them.

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