Portland panhandling ordinance in hands of judge

10:56 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The fate of Portland's ban on asking for handouts while standing on traffic medians is in the hands of a federal judge.

The Portland Press Herald reports that city attorneys and lawyers for three residents who say the ordinance is unconstitutional filed their final arguments Monday in U.S. District Court.

The plaintiffs argue that the ordinance prohibiting pedestrians from loitering on medians is too broad and the city exaggerated the public safety hazards to justify the ban.

The city argues that it is needed so police can be proactive in preventing accidents and medians are inherently dangerous places.

The ordinance approved in July doesn't specifically mention panhandling, but it bans loitering on medians and forces panhandlers seeking handouts from motorists to move.

It's unclear when the judge will rule.


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