- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2015

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - A federal judge has struck down two anti-panhandling ordinances in Worcester, saying they unconstitutionally restrict free speech.

One of the ordinances prohibited panhandling within 20 feet of bus stops, ATMs and restaurants. The other prohibited standing on traffic islands.

In 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit on behalf of three residents to block the ordinances, arguing that they violate the constitutional right to peacefully solicit donations in public and to engage in political and other speech.

In his ruling Monday, Judge Timothy Hillman wrote that cities need to craft solutions that recognize an individual’s rights under the First Amendment while ensuring their conduct does not threaten their own safety or the safety of others.

A similar panhandling ordinance in Lowell was struck down last month.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide