Saturday, October 24, 2015
Our courts are standing up for the homeless
For the third time in recent months, a federal court has struck down a city's ban on panhandling as unconstitutional. That anti-homeless ordinance was recently enacted in Grand Junction, Colorado, and it prevented people from asking for change in various locations around the city or anywhere at all after sunset. The city claimed that the measure was an effort to combat "aggressive panhandling," but Judge Christine Arguello ruled that the law was so broad that it violated the First Amendment's free speech protections. Her ruling echoed recent decisions in Portland, Maine and Springfield, Illinois. Those towns also passed laws to ban or limit panhandling, just like other cities have enacted measures to ban sleeping in public or lying down on a bench or sidewalk. Rather than doing something to help the homeless, these towns decided to make it a crime to sleep on the street. Thankfully, our courts are fixing part of this problem by striking down these discriminatory laws, but we must do more to help those who wind up living on the street.
at 10/24/2015 01:30:00 AM