ALBUQUERQUE — Albuquerque is continuing its pursuit of an ordinance that would restrict panhandling despite a judge’s ruling that the city’s law is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that the city filed a notice of appeal last month.

The measure prohibited panhandlers from standing on sidewalks and medians in the city’s streets to solicit motorists.

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the 2017 ordinance on behalf of four people.

The ACLU represented a woman who was homeless and regularly sought donations on the street, a couple who handed out donations from their vehicles and a woman who distributed flyers to drivers at red lights.

Trudy Jones, the city councilor who sponsored the ordinance, says she thinks the community wants action.

(1) comment

Stefanie Beninato

I think there can be restrictions on panhandling. It is a question of weighing first amendment rights to health and safety. Right now in Santa Fe a political campaigner cannot stand on a median in traffic with a sign but people panhandling and those selling newspapers can. How does that make sense? Panhandlers often dart out into the street to ask for funds; their dogs and other stuff take over the median. And if newspaper vendors can set up a stall in the middle of the street why should someone with a political point be stopped from doing so. If a city is worried that having people on a median in busy traffic is a health/safety issue then the way to get it to be enforceable is that it applies to all first amendment exercises of speech.

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