Surely you've heard of the "do not call" lists. They're a state data base of telephone numbers - home phones and cell phones - which are supposed to prevent telemarketers from contacting you.

Rush Township supervisors are considering another "do not call" list. They are discussing amending their vendor ordinance to include a list of addresses that individuals doing door-to-door canvassing wouldn't be allowed to solicit.

It's a great idea.

Having someone knock on your door while you're eating dinner or doing something else important and having to answer, only to find it's a salesman or solicitor, is worse than an unwanted telephone call.

There might be a few provisions regarding that do not call list involving home visitations.

Among them:

Ÿ Only place the address on the list, not the name of the individual living there.

Ÿ It would have to be cross-reference automatically when moving permits are obtained.

Ÿ Inclusion on the list should require updating possibly every two years.

Ÿ Excluded from the list should be youth groups such as baseball teams and school organizations which solicit for funds or who sell fund-raising items.

The provisions that are being considered will add safety factors to residents of the township.

For example, the fees that would be charged for vendors going door to door would be high enough that it would pay the cost for the township to do background checks on them.

While presently the language in the amendments reads that the provisions are for "commercial vendors," they should be for any type of vendor, including out-of-the-area religious organizations selling items door to door, with the only exception being local school and youth groups.

Because background checks will be required, there should contain language in the ordinance requiring that soliciting permits be obtained a specific amount of time in advance. Getting the permits a half hour before the soliciting begins won't allow the police a long enough period of time to do the background checks.

We commend the Rush Township board of supervisors for addressing this matter.

Too often, even in municipalities where permits for soliciting are required, the issuance of such permits is a mere formality. There are no background checks. Sometimes even identification isn't required.

Lehighton borough is presently working on amending its solicitation ordinance, too, requiring that those individuals going door-to-door carry borough issued photo identification.

The details of the provisions haven't been finalized yet, but Lehighton's also is a great concept.

An even better idea is for the Rush Township and Lehighton proposals to be combined.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com