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Public Citizen v. Pinellas County

This case, filed in May 2001, challenged the constitutionality of Pinellas County, Florida’s charitable solicitations ordinance, which required charities to register in the county, pay a filing fee, and comply with burdensome reporting requirements before they were permitted to solicit charitable contributions from county residents. The ordinance also required nonprofit organizations to register with the county simply because they received an unsolicited contribution via the Internet. The lawsuit challenged the ordinance on First Amendment, Commerce Clause, and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process grounds.

After Public Citizen’s lawsuit was filed, Pinellas County amended its charitable solicitations ordinance to eliminate or modify several of the most offensive provisions challenged in the lawsuit. Subsequently, in May 2004, the district court issued a decision on the parties’ motions for summary judgment, finding in favor of plaintiffs on several of their remaining challenges.

On February 20, 2007, Pinellas County’s Board of County Commissioners repealed the County’s charitable solicitation registration requirements for persons or organizations soliciting for charitable purposes.