Now, no one in Illinois can stop firefighters or police officers from collecting charitable donations on roads - even if they wanted to.
Under a new Illinois law, public safety officials can't be denied permits to collect money for charities from drivers along roadsides. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law Friday and it takes effect immediately.
The governor's office says Illinois is the sixth state to adopt such a law. The others are Florida, Nebraska, Texas, California and North Carolina.
East St. Louis nightclubs and other local businesses are bankrolling extra weekend police patrols after a series of violent crimes.
Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. says the city needs more officers on the street but cannot afford them on its own.
“This is taking already existing officers and paying them to work this special detail," Parks said. "A detail that will be about six officers downtown and another two in the rest of the city where there might be late night activity.”
St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom's budget proposal calls for cutting 50 officers through attrition, not layoffs. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Isom presented the budget Wednesday to the Board of Police Commissioners.
The department is faced with a $3.8 million shortfall. The city allocated $168 million to the department - a 3 percent increase over last year. But pension costs came in $5 million higher than anticipated.