Monday, June 18, 2007

Minneapolis Approves Plan To Restrict Panhandling

The Minneapolis City Council voted nine-to-three to approve an ordinance that bans verbal requests for money within ten feet of crosswalks, convenience and liquor stores. Panhandlers are also banned from asking for money within 50 feet of entrances and exits to parks or sporting arenas and within 80 feet of a bank or A-T-M. Panhandling at night -- and in groups of two or more people -- is also banned under the new ordinance.Violating the ordinance is a misdemeanor. Critics say it violates free speech and is an unfair attack on the homeless and impoverished. Council members who approved it say they are not targeting the homeless. But rather the focus is on -- quote "aggressive solicitation." Those who ask for money silently with a sign will not be affected.