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Talk About Timing! The Right to Shovel Law Takes Effect

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Governor Christie recently signed a law that ensures children the right to offer snow-shoveling services before storms.

Last year, a blizzard hit New Jersey that closed some school districts. Figuring they could earn some extra cash, two high school students canvassed their neighborhood offering their snow-shoveling services. But the local police stopped them because the town had a local ordinance against "unlicensed solicitors." The story made national headlines and went viral on social media. The backlash that New Jersey suffered prompted Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) to sponsor this bill to exempt teens and members of the community from ordinances that were enacted to regulate other solicitors, like magazine door-to-door salesmen.

The Right to Shovel law says that "no ordinance regulating solicitation for services shall be applicable to solicitations, whether written or oral, for snow shoveling services made within 24 hours of a snowstorm that has been predicted by a commonly recognized commercial or governmental weather reporting entity." Also, the bill says "[S]hoveling snow has been a time-honored activity for children when schools are closed, and it is not appropriate for municipal solicitation regulations to be interpreted so broadly as to prohibit children from offering to perform this necessary service within their communities." Instead of silly rules that stifle the entrepreneurial spirits of kids in our communities, this new law clears the way for them to clear our driveways just in time for the next snowstorm. Kieu-Nhi Le, Rutgers School of Law Newark candidate for a JD degree in May 2016. She is the Managing Business Editor of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal collaborated with me on this blog.

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