Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law that makes it easier for public safety officers to raise money for charity. The new law ensures that counties or municipalities allow police officers and firefighters to collect charitable donations from motorists as they work along the roadside. The Governor signed the law at the Associated Firefighters of Illinois' (AFFI) 39th Biennial Convention in Lombard, making Illinois the sixth state in the nation to enact such a law.
"The men and women who protect us are known for serving their communities in and out of uniform," Governor Quinn said. "It is fitting that we salute the AFFI with a new law that will allow them to continue supporting organizations that improve the quality of life for the people of Illinois."
Senate Bill 3518, sponsored by Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago) and Rep. Donald L. Moffitt (R-Galesburg), was an initiative of the Associated Firefighters of Illinois. A number of communities have begun passing bans prohibiting firefighters and police officers from collecting charitable donations along roadways, citing safety concerns. Under the law signed today, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other public safety officials cannot be denied permits from municipalities or counties to collect donations in their communities and along roads, provided certain requirements are met.
For more than 50 years, the International Association of Firefighters and their members have "filled the boot" to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). During the annual national campaign, participating firefighters visit retail locations and stand along roadways to collect donations from passersby and motorists. Donations go toward finding a cure for muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular diseases, including ALS (known as Lou Gehrig's disease).
"Illinois firefighters have supported important organizations like the MDA for decades by filling their boots with donations that save lives," Sen. Mulroe said. "I would like to thank Governor Quinn for signing this law that will help them continue their work on behalf of individuals who have muscular dystrophy."
"I would like to thank Governor Quinn for signing this into law so quickly," said Rep. Moffitt. "The men and women who put their lives on the line to serve their communities have a long history of giving back, and this law will enable them to continue their outstanding efforts for this very worthy cause to fight muscular dystrophy and other neurological disorders."
"The Associated Firefighters of Illinois and the Muscular Dystrophy Association truly appreciate the work and support of Sen. Mulroe, Rep. Moffitt and Governor Quinn. Their efforts will allow all firefighters in the state of Illinois to "fill the boot' in their respective communities," said Chuck Sullivan, legislative representative for the AFFI. "The legislation will strengthen our 58 year partnerships, and for that we are very thankful."
Funding to MDA also helps individuals and families affected by muscular dystrophy receive medical care at the seven MDA clinics throughout Illinois. And as summer gets underway, money raised by the AFFI will enable children and adults living with muscular dystrophy to attend summer camp. This new law will help firefighters continue to serve their communities by supporting organizations such as the MDA.
Illinois would be the 6th state in the nation to pass a law such as this one, following Florida, Nebraska, Texas, California, and North Carolina. The law takes effect immediately.