Chapter 6.18
CANVASSERS AND SOLICITORS

Sections:

6.18.010    Purpose.

6.18.020    Immunity.

6.18.030    Definitions.

6.18.040    Exemptions.

6.18.050    License required.

6.18.060    Applications – Contents.

6.18.070    Applicant investigation.

6.18.080    Fees.

6.18.090    Issuance or denial of license.

6.18.100    Denial and revocation.

6.18.110    Appeal procedure.

6.18.120    Exhibition of license required.

6.18.130    Restrictions on the time and place.

6.18.140    Enforcement.

6.18.150    Violation – Penalty.

6.18.160    Severability.

6.18.170    Effect of provisions of prior actions.

6.18.010 Purpose.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the activities of canvassers and solicitors and to promote the dependability and accountability of canvassers and solicitors. The investigation and licensing fees provided herein are levied to defray the costs of regulation and not to place an undue burden on interstate commerce.

B. It is expressly the purpose of this chapter to provide for and promote the safety and welfare of the general public and not to create or designate any particular class of persons who will or should be specially protected by its terms. [Ord. 10350, 1992].

6.18.020 Immunity.

A. It is the specific intent of this chapter to place the obligation of complying with its terms on the licensee, and no provision of this chapter is intended to impose any duty upon the city or its employees.

B. Nothing contained in this chapter is intended to be nor shall be construed to create any liability on the part of the city or its employees for any injury or damage resulting from the failure of the licensee to comply with the provisions of this chapter, or by reason or in consequence of any act or omission in connection with the implementation or enforcement of this chapter on the part of the city or its employees. [Ord. 10350, 1992].

6.18.030 Definitions.

“Canvasser” or “solicitor” means a person selling goods or services; or offering to sell goods or services to be delivered in the future; or obtaining information to be used by another in the sale or offer of sale of any goods or services; or requesting donations of money, goods or services; and who pursues these activities in the following manner:

A. Traveling from door to door, street to street, or place to place; or

B. Temporarily hiring, leasing, or using any structure or lot, or portion thereof.

“Charitable organization” means an entity that solicits or collects contributions from the general public where the total contribution is used to support charitable activities.

“Nonprofit organization” means an entity registered as a nonprofit corporation under RCW Title 24; or an entity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c) of the Federal Income Tax Code.

“Principal of an organization engaged in canvassing or soliciting” means a person organizing, supervising, or managing canvassers or solicitors.

“Religious organization” means an entity duly organized and operating in good faith and entitled to receive a declaration of current tax exempt status for religious purposes from the United States government, and the duly organized branches or chapters of those organizations.

“Telephone solicitor” means a solicitor whose only contact with the public is telephoning persons unknown to the solicitor. Telephone solicitors are exempt from the requirements of BMC 6.18.060(H) through (J), and 6.18.070. [Ord. 10350, 1992; Ord. 9215 § 1, 1982; Code 1980 at § 6.18.010; prior code at § 15.42.020].

6.18.040 Exemptions.

This chapter does not apply to:

A. Persons dealing only with merchants, businesses, or professional consumers.

B. Newspaper carriers, state licensed insurance and real estate agents, advertising sales persons, calling on commercial enterprises, or any sale under court order.

C. Transient merchants making sales, or taking orders for farm products produced or raised by that merchant.

D. Officers or members acting on behalf of nonprofit, charitable or religious, organizations, and who are unpaid for their services.

E. Candidates for elected government positions and their campaign workers.

F. Persons under the age of 18, unless employed by another person or organization. [Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 6.18.130; prior code at § 15.42.040].

6.18.050 License required.

It is unlawful for a person to canvass, solicit or telephone solicit within the city without having a current license, as provided in this chapter. Such license is in addition to the general business registration required by Chapter 6.05 BMC. [Ord. 2012-10-047 § 15; Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 6.18.020; prior code at § 15.42.010].

6.18.060 Applications – Contents.

Applicants for a license under this chapter must file a written application on a form provided by the city. The application must be filed with the finance department and must contain the following information:

A. Name, description, date of birth, and social security number of the applicant.

B. Permanent home address and full local address of the applicant.

C. A brief description of the nature of the business and goods to be sold.

D. Place of manufacture or production of goods to be offered for sale, the present location of such goods, and the proposed method of delivery.

E. Length of time for which the right to do business is desired.

F. Name and address of the employer or parent organization the applicant is representing and copies of credentials or documents verifying that relationship. An applicant is exempt from this requirement if a principal for the organization being represented has already supplied this information on an application for a license under this chapter for the same time period.

G. Names of two personal or business references.

H. Signature of the applicant authorizing the police department to take fingerprints and conduct an investigation of the applicant.

I. Fingerprints of the applicant applying for the license.

J. Description and license plate number of the vehicle used by the applicant when canvassing or soliciting. [Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 6.18.030; prior code at § 15.42.030].

6.18.070 Applicant investigation.

A. Upon receipt of a completed application for a license under this chapter, the original shall be referred to the police department for investigation of the applicant. The investigation shall include review of felony and misdemeanor convictions and traffic offenses which have occurred in the past 10 years.

B. Upon completion of investigation of the applicant, the police department shall make a recommendation of approval or disapproval based on the findings of the investigation to the finance department. Any recommendation of disapproval must be for good cause including, but not limited to, unsatisfactory criminal history of convictions for offenses, criminal and/or traffic, directly related to fitness for a license; discovery of facts supporting lack of business responsibility; or any legitimate reason that the applicant presents a risk to the citizens if permitted to engage in canvassing or soliciting.

C. The police department recommendation for approval or disapproval shall be made to the finance department no later than five days from date of application. [Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 6.18.040; prior code § 15.42.040].

6.18.080 Fees.

A. The applicant shall pay a $15.00 fee to the police department to cover the costs of the investigation.

B. Upon approval the applicant shall pay a license fee as follows:

1. Yearly license – $25.00 per person per calendar year.

2. Bi-yearly license – $15.00 shall be charged for the period from January 1st to June 30th or any part thereof; or for the period from July 1st to December 31st or any part thereof.

3. Temporary license – $10.00 per each calendar month. This fee may be applied toward a yearly or bi-yearly license for any period inclusive of the temporary license. [Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 6.18.050; prior code at § 15.42.050(a)].

6.18.090 Issuance or denial of license.

The finance department shall issue a license upon police department approval and payment of the prescribed license fee. In the event of police department disapproval, the finance department shall notify the applicant of the denial and the procedures for appeal pursuant to BMC 6.18.110. [Ord. 10350, 1992].

6.18.100 Denial and revocation.

Licenses issued under this chapter may be denied or revoked by the finance department subject to appeal pursuant to BMC 6.18.110. Licenses may only be revoked for good cause including, but not limited to:

A. Fraud, misrepresentation, or false statement contained in the application for license.

B. Fraud, misrepresentation, or false statement made in the course of carrying on the business of canvassing or soliciting.

C. Any violation of this chapter.

D. Any felony or misdemeanor conviction directly related to the fitness of licensee to carry on the activities of canvassing or soliciting.

E. Conducting business in an unlawful manner or in such a manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety, or general welfare of the public.

F. Any grounds listed in BMC 6.05.230(A). [Ord. 2012-10-047 § 16; Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 6.18.110; prior code § 15.42.100].

6.18.110 Appeal procedure.

Any person aggrieved by denial or revocation of a license may file an appeal with the hearing examiner. The appeal under this subsection shall be governed by BMC 6.05.230(B), (C), and (D). [Ord. 2012-10-047 § 17; Ord. 2002-10-069 § 11; Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 6.18.120; prior code at § 15.42.110].

6.18.120 Exhibition of license required.

Solicitors and canvassers shall exhibit their license at the request of any citizen. [Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 15.42.070].

6.18.130 Restrictions on the time and place.

A. A canvasser or solicitor shall not engage or attempt to engage in activity at any home, residence, apartment complex or business that displays a “No solicitors” or other similar sign; or otherwise provides notice that the occupants do not desire to be contacted by them.

B. A canvasser or solicitor shall not engage in business between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.

A canvasser or solicitor shall not intentionally obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic. [Ord. 10350, 1992].

6.18.140 Enforcement.

Any person seen soliciting or canvassing shall be required to produce his solicitor’s or canvasser’s license if requested to do so by any police officer. In the absence of a license, the person shall be required to provide information reasonably necessary to verify a claim of exemption from this chapter.

Any police officer shall enforce the provisions of this chapter against any person found to be violating the same, and failure to produce a license or information necessary to verify a claimed exemption shall constitute probable cause for enforcement action. [Ord. 10350, 1992; Ord. 9215 § 3, 1983; Code 1980 at § 15.42.080].

6.18.150 Violation – Penalty.

Any person violating any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each day upon which such violation shall occur or upon which such violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense. [Ord. 2012-10-047 § 18; Ord. 10350, 1992; Code 1980 at § 15.42.140].

6.18.160 Severability.

If any provision of this title or its application or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the title or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected, and to this end the provisions of this title are declared to be severable. [Ord. 10350, 1992].

6.18.170 Effect of provisions of prior actions.

A. Nothing contained in any provision of this title shall apply to an act done or omitted or to an offense committed at any time before the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. Such act or omission shall be governed by and any such offense shall be punished according to the provisions of the ordinances existing when such act, omission, or offense occurred.

B. The repeal of prior ordinances by this repealing section of the ordinance codified in this title shall not affect any right existing or accrued or any act or proceeding commenced before the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. [Ord. 10350, 1992].