AP NEWS

Fort Smith officials repeal panhandling ordinance again

March 1, 2018

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — Fort Smith officials have repealed for the second time an ordinance intended to restrict panhandling amid a lawsuit alleging it violated freedom of speech rights.

The Times Record reports that the Fort Smith Board of Directors repealed on Tuesday the ordinance prohibiting anyone not in a vehicle from occupying a roadway within any public street right of way except at crosswalks and bus stops. The July ordinance was the second attempt at implementing panhandling rules after the board repealed a February 2017 ordinance amid a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The city recently joined Arkansas Municipal League’s legal defense program, whose lawyers recommend the ordinance be repealed.

Attorney Michael Mosley says the ACLU asserts that the ordinance’s permitting process makes certain speech illegal because it doesn’t allow everyone to get a permit.

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Information from: Southwest Times Record, http://www.swtimes.com/

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