- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - The House has given initial approval to a bill outlawing aggressive panhandling in public places.

Senate Bill 1094 criminalizes behaviors including begging within 15 feet of an ATM, repeatedly asking for money or touching someone while panhandling.

Sen. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills says his proposal removes the fear and apprehension surrounding aggressive panhandling.

Opponents said that instead of criminalizing panhandling, government should do more to help homeless men and women get education, mental health treatment and jobs.

Former Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed similar legislation last year. Brewer called it an issue of local control.

In 2013, U.S. District Judge Neil Wake overturned an Arizona law that criminalized panhandling in public.

The proposal received initial approval Tuesday and now awaits a formal vote.

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