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Kansas City council to revise panhandler ordinance

August 31, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City officials will revisit a panhandler ordinance after the proposal sparked a debate at a city hearing.

The ordinance reviewed at a public hearing Thursday was introduced last week as a pedestrian safety measure, The Kansas City Star reported. Under the ordinance, pedestrians would be prohibited from doing anything on medians, traffic islands or highway ramps other than crossing safely to the other side. People lingering would face a fine of up to $500 or as much as six months in jail.

The measure, which doesn’t use the word “panhandle,” came at the request of Kansas City police after they received numerous complaints from neighborhood groups to bar roadside panhandling.

More than 70 people signed up to give their input on the measure. Opponents said it unnecessarily punishes people in need without doing anything to help them change their lives.

The City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agreed take another look at the ordinance in an effort to clarify exactly what problems its seven co-sponsors are trying to address. Councilwoman Jolie Justus said she’ll work with co-sponsors to revise the ordinance.

The proposal will be heard by the committee again on Sept. 27.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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