Revamped panhandling ordinance moves forward

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INDIANAPOLIS – A City-County Council committee approved a revamped version of a new panhandling ordinance.

The proposal moved forward in a 5-2 vote. The ordinance would prohibit panhandling within 50 feet of a financial transaction or any place where people would feel vulnerable such as an ATM, bank, parking meter, restaurant, etc.

The ordinance would limit the hours when panhandling is allowed, defining them as between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The ordinance would apply to all areas of the city and not just downtown Indianapolis.

A bipartisan group of council members consulted with downtown businesses, organizations and a homeless service agency to draft the new guidelines.

An earlier version of the ordinance supported by Mayor Greg Ballard would have created a no-solicitation zone in downtown, but the measure was rewritten to eliminate the zone, which faced a challenge on First Amendment grounds.

The full council is expected to vote on the measure Dec. 9.

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