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Montgomery Co. Firefighters May Be Looking For New Fundraiser

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Firefighters in Montgomery County take to the streets every year to raise money for muscular dystrophy.
Elliott Francis
Firefighters in Montgomery County take to the streets every year to raise money for muscular dystrophy.

The council's ethics committee just passed a bill that forbids all on-duty county employees from soliciting donations on streets. That puts firefighters in a bind, they say, because each year they ask idling drivers to fill their empty boots with donations for charity.

Fire Chief Richard Bowers says they usually raise approximately a quarter of a million dollars each year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Maryland. He says they'll have to be more creative if the bill passes the full council.

"Well have to figure out another way to support this here in Montgomery County, because I believe in it," he says. "We believe in it."

Councilman Hans Riemer was the only committee member to oppose the bill. He says council members should have consulted with the fire department instead of pushing these changes.

"Just outright shutting it down seems to me to be a needless and excessive response to the concern," he says.

The bill's sponsor, Council member Phil Andrews, says the bill is about the safety of drivers and protecting county employees.

"There are public events where it would be safe to solicit at. There are private entities like grocery stores where solicitation for charity is often done and can be done safely," he says. "So there are other options."

The legislation could come before the full council in the next few weeks.

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