It’s not confusing, Councilman David Marks.
Government shall not abridge our freedom of speech.
Baltimore County Code currently requires door-to-door salespeople to first obtain a government license and possibly pay a license fee, or else risk being charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $100 per “offense.”1
In other words, Baltimore County government says you are NOT free to speak to your neighbors at their doorstep if the topic of conversation involves you offering something for sale.
Yet, rather than repealing such egregious county legislation, which requires what amounts to “speech licenses” for hardworking door-to-door salespeople, David Marks has merely chosen to make cosmetic changes to existing speech restrictions.2
The requirement of door-to-door salespeople to get permission from their local government has recently stirred up controversy and made headlines.
Recent winter storms have created a need for lots of snow to be shoveled, and several enterprising individuals have chosen to brave the elements and go door-to-door offering their shoveling services to residents in their community.
Read what happened when two hardworking teenagers got their first lesson in statist economics: USA TODAY – Police stop teens seeking snow shoveling work
While being interpreted by some as a racial profiling incident, this incident was actually the result of similar licensing requirements on small time door-to-door entrepreneurs.
After the snow shovelers’ customer and her son witnessed this misguided deployment of police manpower, she told a reporter, “My son asked me, ‘Are they in trouble? Did they do something wrong?’ And I didn’t know how to answer him.”
Does Councilman Marks want to stop our enterprising youth from serving their neighbors and earning honest pay? Does he want to stop our Girl Scouts if they sell their cookies without a license?
Yes, even Girl Scouts are technically subject to our county’s door-to-door sales licensing requirement.
Clearly the matter has crossed his desk and he is aware of the oppressive licensing demands. Yet, based on his proposed adjustments to the law, he is not at all concerned about this fundamental government overreach.
If a teenager in Baltimore County wanted to shovel snow for pay, what does our government expect first?
An applicant for a license shall:
(1) Submit to the Clerk of the Court an application that includes the applicant’s name, address, weight, race, height, and color of hair and eyes; and
(2) Pay to the Clerk of the Court a fee for each vehicle used on the streets or highways of the county to be established annually by the County Administrative Officer.1
Teenagers shoveling snow, Girl Scouts, and all people for that matter, do not deserve to go through these privacy violations and annoying errands in order to offer services that might benefit their neighbors.
David Marks either doesn’t understand basic civil liberties and free market economics, or he actively opposes them.
This makes him a typical establishment politician and a threat to limited government principles.
His unwillingness to repeal such a blatant restriction of free speech and business activity (even when the language of the law is staring him right in the face!) demonstrates a lack of any such principle.
On the bright side, David Marks’ absence of principle here suggests a vulnerability to grassroots political pressure.
Politics is a numbers game, and with your help we can get the numbers we need to pressure David Marks and Baltimore County Council to repeal this egregious licensing requirement.
Therefore, if you believe in limited government and freedom of speech, then make your voice heard!
Call or e-mail David Marks NOW. Forward this e-mail to your friends in his district.
Tell him to introduce legislation to completely repeal all licensing requirements under Article 21, Title 11 of the Baltimore County Code.
Do you have like-minded friends in Baltimore County or around the state who believe in civil liberties, free markets, and limited government?
If so, please forward this petition to help grow the local grassroots pressure in favor of these great principles.
1) Read the existing legislation under Article 21, Title 11 of the Baltimore County Code HERE
2) Read David Marks’ proposed (and relatively meaningless) adjustments to it HERE