ACLU Reacts to Ballard's Panhandling Proposal
The ACLU of Indiana is reacting to a proposal regarding restricting panhandling in Mayor Greg Ballard's State of the City Address. Ballard wants a no-pandhandling zone downtown, and also wants to prohibit the practice in other areas from 5pm to 8am.
ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk says the ordinance would be unconstitutional. Falk says panhandling is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. Falk says establishing a blanket ban on asking for donations for a group, or individuals, would be a First Amendment protected act.
Falk says to not infringe upon those rights, the ordinance must be done in a narrow way, and must be done in a way that leaves open ample alternatives. Falk adds that if the ordinance goes into effect,. and if the ACLU is contacted , there would be grounds to challenge the ordinance.