ACLU: Other Panhandling Ordinances Like Battle Creek’s Are Being Found Unconstitutional
No sooner did the idea of proposing a panhandling ordinance in Battle Creek come up, and the American Civil Liberties Union put the city on notice that it would face a potential legal challenge if the law was passed.
On a 5-4 vote, Battle Creek advanced two proposed ordinances, the verbiage of which City Attorney Jill Steele tells WBCK will stand up to legal scrutiny. ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman isn't so sure.
"Because you have to treat all request for charity the same way, an ordinance like this criminalizes a lot of speech that we don't think of as panhandling," Auckerman said. "Under the ordinance, I couldn't ask you for change or to borrow your cell phone without getting a permit."
City commissioners in Battle Creek will take another vote in early September which will determine the fate of the proposals. Hear the ACLU's comments by clicking the player below.