- Associated Press - Monday, December 4, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln is adjusting its panhandling ordinances to allow the free speech right to use profanities but to ban repeated panhandling requests.

The proposed change also specifies where panhandlers can stand when soliciting, the Lincoln Journal Star reported . Panhandlers won’t be allowed to stand on streets, highways or medians when soliciting, but they can stand on sidewalks.

The change also looks to ban repeated panhandling request after a person has already refused, ignored or declined solicitation attempts.

The “curb to curb” ban was created to address public safety issues and reduce driver distractions, said City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick. The city aims to prohibit harassment without infringing on residents’ First Amendment rights, Kirkpatrick said.

“Abusive language is in the eye of the beholder,” Kirkpatrick said.

The panhandling ordinance also prohibits a solicitor from touching a person, following a person or blocking the path to a building or a vehicle. It bans panhandling after sunset and before sunrise. The law also prohibits any gestures or communication that could cause a person to fear bodily harm or be intimidated.

The specifics help prosecutors, police and citizens, Kirkpatrick said.

Omaha has banned soliciting on certain busy streets, but allows it on others. The Lincoln ban will affect all streets, Kirkpatrick said.

“This is a different approach from Omaha, but then we do a lot of things differently from Omaha,” he said. “We think it is a safety concern.”

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the changes on Monday. The council is expected to vote on the proposals on Dec. 11.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide