An article in the News Tribune today gives an update on the thorny issue of getting a handle on panhandling in Tacoma. The legality of such laws has to walk a fine line between free speech and the safety of those being solicited. The good news is that Tacoma isn't alone on this issue and the Tacoma City Council's Public Safety and Human Services Committee has looked at how other cities have drafted successful ordinances. The scope of the law would be finely focused to help avoid free speech troubles. From the article:
The proposal under consideration would ban panhandling directed at drivers. It also would make it illegal to ask for handouts within 15 feet of automated teller machines, banks, credit unions, pay telephones, bus and light-rail stops, taxi stands, self-service car washes, self-service fuel pumps and some other places.
One particularly hitting quote came from a panhandler who said:
"The more expensive car they drive, the more they hate you..."
The Tacoma City Council's Public Safety and Human Services Committee is having a meeting to discuss the proposed ordinance tonight at 5pm in room 248 at City Hall. [ map ]
Do you think panhandling should be controlled or is it all free speech? What experiences have you had with panhandlers?
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