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Town of Dalton, MA
Berkshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Dalton. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Noncriminal disposition — See Ch. 1, Art. II.
Peddling in cemeteries — See Ch. 701, § 701-3L(4).
Hawkers, peddlers and transient vendors — See Ch. 702.
This bylaw, adopted pursuant to MGL c. 43, § 13, and Article 89 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, establishes registration requirements and specific operational requirements for persons intending to engage in door-to-door canvassing or solicitation in the Town of Dalton in order to protect its citizens from disruption of the peaceful enjoyment of their residences and from the perpetration of fraud or other crimes; and to allow for reasonable access to residents in their homes by persons or organizations who wish to communicate either commercial or noncommercial messages.
For the purpose of this bylaw, the following definitions shall apply:
CANVASSING
Includes any one or more of the following door-to-door activities:
A. 
Person-to-person distribution of literature, periodicals, or other printed materials for commercial purposes, but shall not include placing or dropping off printed materials on the premises;
B. 
Seeking to enlist membership in any organization for commercial purposes; and
C. 
Seeking to present, in person, organizational information for commercial purposes.
CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION, PROFESSIONAL SOLICITOR AND COMMERCIAL CO-VENTURER
As set forth in MGL c. 68, § 18.
RESIDENCE
Includes every individual dwelling unit occupied for residential purposes by one or more persons.
REGISTERED SOLICITOR
Any person who has obtained a valid certificate of registration from the Town as required by this bylaw.
SOLICITING
Includes any one or more of the following door-to-door activities:
A. 
Selling or seeking to obtain orders for the purchase of goods or services, including advertising in any type of publication, for any kind of consideration whatsoever;
B. 
Selling or seeking to obtain prospective customers for application for purchase of insurance of any kind;
C. 
Selling or seeking to sell subscriptions to books, magazines, periodicals, newspapers or any other type of publication;
D. 
Seeking to obtain gifts or contributions of money or any valuable thing for the support or benefit of any association, organization, corporation or project wholly or in part for commercial purposes or by a professional solicitor or commercial co-venturer for a charitable or other noncommercial organization; and
E. 
Seeking to obtain information on the background, occupation, economic status, political affiliation, attitudes, viewpoints, or the like of the occupants of a residence for the purpose of selling or using such data, wholly, or in part, for commercial purposes.
Every person or organization intending to engage in soliciting or canvassing door to door in the Town of Dalton must apply for a permit with the Chief of Police by filing a registration application form with the Chief of Police. Applications for individual registration shall be filed at least seven business days in advance. Applications for organizational registration shall be filed at least three business days in advance.
A. 
Organization application forms shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name and address of the organization applying for registration, and the names and addresses of the organizations' principal officers. If the organization is a charitable organization, a certification that the most recent annual registration statement required to be filed with the Attorney General's Division of Public Charities has been so filed. If the organization is a professional solicitor or a commercial co-venturer for a charitable organization, a copy of the contract with the charitable organization must be provided with this application. Failure to include a copy of the contract with the charitable organization under such circumstances will render the application incomplete, and no action will be taken thereon;
(2) 
The name, title and phone number, IRS or social security (optional) number and valid driver's license or other government-issued photo identification of the persons filing the application form;
(3) 
The names and addresses of the person(s), if any, who will be directly supervising the solicitation or canvassing operation in the Town of Dalton;
(4) 
A list of the names, addresses, and dates of birth of all individuals who will be employed in solicitation or canvassing by the applicant;
(5) 
Period of time for which certificate of registration is needed; (Note: No certificate may be granted for longer than a thirty-day period.)
(6) 
Names of the last three communities (if any) in which the organization has conducted a solicitation or canvassing operation, complete with the date any permit or license was issued and the date it expired; and
(7) 
Insurance information and license, if applicable.
B. 
Individual registration forms shall be required for all individuals, including those who are affiliated with an organization registered under Subsection A hereof. Individual registration forms shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name and address of the present place of residence and length of residence at that address; if less than three years' residence at present address, the address of residence(s) during the past three years;
(2) 
Date of birth;
(3) 
Name, address and telephone number of the person or organizations whom the applicant represents and the length of time the applicant has been associated with or employed by that person or organization. If the individual is a professional solicitor or a commercial co-venturer for a charitable organization, a copy of the contract, if any, with the charitable organization must be provided with this application. Failure to include a copy of the contract with the charitable organization under such circumstances will render the application incomplete, and no action will be taken thereon;
(4) 
Period of time for which certificate of registration is needed; (Note: No certificate may be granted for longer than a thirty-day period.)
(5) 
Name of the last three communities (if any) in which the applicant has solicited or canvassed door to door, complete with the date any permit or license was issued and the date it expired;
(6) 
Valid driver's license or other government-issued photo identification; and
(7) 
Make, model and registration number of any vehicle to be used by the applicant while soliciting or canvassing.
There shall be no application fee or charge for an individual registration card. Each organizational applicant for registration or reregistration shall pay to the Town an application fee of $50.
A. 
The Police Chief, after a review, but in no event more than seven business days after receipt of a fully completed application; shall furnish each person with a registration card which shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The name of the person;
(2) 
A recent photograph of the person;
(3) 
The name of the organization (if any) which the person represents;
(4) 
A statement that the individual has been registered with the Town of Dalton Police Department but that registration is not an endorsement of any individual or organization; and
(5) 
Specific dates or period of time covered by the registration.
B. 
Persons engaged in solicitation or canvassing as defined in this bylaw must carry the registration card while soliciting or canvassing and present the card to any person solicited or upon the request of any police officer.
C. 
Registration cards are valid only for the specific dates or time period specified thereon and in no case for longer than 30 days.
D. 
The Police Chief shall routinely grant registrations without further inquiry but shall refuse registration to an organization or an individual whose registration has been revoked for violation of this bylaw within the previous two-year period or who has been convicted of murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, arson, burglary/breaking and entering, felony assault, or larceny over $250, as such persons pose a substantial degree of dangerousness to minors and other persons vulnerable to becoming victims of the violent crimes so listed. The Police Chief shall also refuse to register a person who is a sex offender required to register with the Sex Offenders Registry Board and who is finally classified as a Level 2 or Level 3 sex offender, as such persons have been found to have a moderate to high risk of reoffending and pose a substantial degree of dangerousness to minors and other persons vulnerable to becoming victims of sex crimes.
A. 
Registration shall not be required for officers or employees of the Town, county, state or federal governments when on official business.
B. 
No application shall be issued to an applicant under the age of 18, except in connection with canvassing or soliciting on behalf of a profit organization; newspaper carriers excepted.
C. 
Nothing in this bylaw shall be construed to impose any registration requirement or otherwise restrict or in any way regulate any activity for religious, political, newspaper distribution or public policy purposes or other noncommercial purposes, regardless of whether such activity includes acts that would otherwise constitute soliciting and canvassing.
A. 
Upon going into any residential premises in the Town of Dalton, every solicitor, canvasser or other person must first examine any notice that may be posted prohibiting solicitation or other activities. If such a notice is posted, the solicitor, canvasser or other person shall immediately and peacefully depart from the premises.
B. 
Any solicitor, canvasser or other person who has gained entrance to any residence, whether invited or not, shall immediately and peacefully depart from the premises when requested to do so by the occupant.
C. 
Immediately upon gaining entrance to any residence, each solicitor or canvasser as defined in this bylaw must do the following:
(1) 
Present his/her registration card for inspection by the occupant;
(2) 
Request that the occupant read the registration card; and
(3) 
Inform the occupant in clear language of the nature and purpose of his/her business and, if he/she is representing an organization, the name and nature of that organization.
D. 
It shall be the duty of every organization employing solicitors or canvassers to notify the Police Department daily as to what area(s) of the Town they will be operating in.
It shall be unlawful for a solicitor, canvasser or other person to do any of the following:
A. 
Falsely represent, directly or by implication, that the solicitation, canvassing or other activity is being done on behalf of a governmental organization or on behalf of any municipal employee or elected official;
B. 
Solicit, canvass or conduct any other activity at any residence where there is a posted sign prohibiting the same, without express prior permission of an occupant;
C. 
Solicit, canvass or conduct any other activity at any residence without express prior permission of an occupant before 9:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. where there is no sign posted otherwise limiting solicitation or the hours of solicitation or such other activities;
D. 
Utilize any form of endorsement from any department head currently employed or serving the Town of Dalton; and
E. 
Solicit, canvass or conduct any other activity at any residence in an illegal fashion.
A. 
Any person or organization who shall violate any of the provisions of this bylaw or any applicable state or federal laws governing soliciting or canvassing, including but not limited to Chapter 68 of the General Laws, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $300 for each offense, or be subject to noncriminal disposition of the offense pursuant to Chapter 1.
B. 
Any person or organization who for him or herself, itself, or through its agents, servants or employees is found after investigation by a police officer to have violated any provision of § 200-7 or 200-8 of this bylaw, or any applicable state or federal laws governing soliciting or canvassing, including but not limited to Chapter 68 of the General Laws; or knowingly provided false information on the registration application, or who is found, after investigation by a police officer, to have conducted himself or herself in a threatening, abusive or illegal fashion, shall have his, her or its registration revoked by the Chief of Police by written notice delivered to the holder of the registration in person or sent to the holder by certified mail at the address set forth in the application.
Any person or organization who is denied registration or whose registration has been revoked may appeal by filing a written notice of appeal with the Select Board. Such appeal must be filed within five days after receipt of the notice of denial or revocation. The Select Board shall hear the appeal at its next scheduled meeting after the filing of the written notice of appeal; provided, however, that if the Select Board fails to make a determination within 30 days after the filing of the appeal, the registration shall be deemed granted or reinstated as the case may be.
Invalidity of any provision of this bylaw shall not affect the validity of the bylaw as a whole.