Senators urge governor to sign ‘boot drive’ bill


Joseph Crisco
Joseph Crisco

HARTFORD — State senators Joseph Crisco, Jr. (D-17) and Joan Hartley (D-15) urged Gov. Dannel Malloy this week to sign a bill to allow special event permits for fundraising “boot drives” held by firefighters statewide.

The bill received unanimous Senate approval last week after it cleared the House on May 15.

Hartley and Crisco said these charitable fill-the-boot events had been held regularly for many years by volunteer fire departments to raise much-needed, supplemental funds until recently, when local law enforcement agencies and the state Department of Transportation raised concerns about them.

“Firefighters across Connecticut had come to rely upon these boot drives to raise money for special equipment they need or to provide direct monetary assistance to fire victims,” Crisco said in a press release. “Provisions of this bill require state officials to issue the necessary, one-day, special event permit to lawfully hold these fundraisers when requested by appropriate local authorities.”

Crisco and Hartley said specifics of the bill limit the allowable locations for these boot drives to intersections where there’s a stop sign or traffic light, and to where the speed limit is 30 mph or less.

 Joan Hartley
Joan Hartley

“The best part of this bill is that it restores to local fire departments the ability to hold these fill-the-boot events while adding a layer of public safety protocol and common sense,” Hartley said in a press release. “Going forward, now everyone understands these fundraisers must be conducted where traffic controls are already in place and where no firefighter is at unreasonable risk.”

Hartley and Crisco said that after final legislative action on the measure, the bill was advanced to the governor’s office Wednesday and they hope for his favorable consideration.