City Council May Tighten Door-to-Door Sales

The Idaho Falls City Council is in the process of considering tighter controls on door-to-door sales. 
Early this summer, we investigated four cases involving door-to-door sales.  One salesman was arrested for burglary and theft and another was arrested for rape.  Two other salesmen are being investigated for sexual assaults.  All incidents but one took place while the men were engaged in selling stuff. The exception occurred at a hotel where the men were staying.  All of the men but one had a criminal history.
Crafting an ordinance that works isn’t simple because of First Amendment issues.  The courts also made it clear that we need to tread carefully when it comes to high licensing fees, a lengthy application process, or other measure designed to discourage commerce. 
We had a misfire on our door-to-door ordinance back in the early 1980s.  At that time, the ordinance essentially outlawed door-to-door sales.  We won in the U.S. District Court, lost in the 9th Circuit, won in the U.S. Supreme Court and then lost again in the 9th Circuit.  Our current ordinance was a compromise created out of necessity to get the 9th Circuit off our backs.  It only applies if there is a “no-solicitation” sign which is ineffective because most people won’t do it - including me.
Since the 1980s, there has been more case law, so it’s definitely time to re-visit the matter.  City attorneys are working on a draft as we speak.  Hopefully, we’ll be ready to take it to the Public Safety Committee in the next few weeks for council consideration.