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City Council Considers Ban On “Aggressive Panhandling”

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The Rochester City Council is considering banning “aggressive panhandling.”

The city has seen an increase in the number of people begging on public property, but because the courts have repeatedly found act of begging is a form of free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution, the city’s options are limited.

The Council was briefed Monday on a proposal to outlaw loud or repeated demands, touching or following the person being solicited, and begging in places that are considered particularly intimidating, such as near ATM machines, restrooms, public buses, sidewalk cafes or a person’s vehicle.

The Council directed City Attorney Terry Adkins to draft an ordinance and bring it back to the Council for a vote on July 7th.

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