The Battle Creek City Commission voted 5-3 with one commissioner absent last night to pass a pair of ordinances designed to cut down on aggressive panhandling in the city.

Now that the ordinances have passed, they will take effect in 10 days, with area law enforcement training to enforce the new rules in that time.  Under the passed ordinances, activities like repeatedly asking someone for money after being turned down, or asking for it in a way that would “cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized [or] frightened”, would be outlawed in Battle Creek. 

People will also be forbidden from remaining “idly” within 25 feet of an intersection without a license.  Violations will be civil infractions, subject to a fine.

The ordinances have been controversial regarding their constitutionality; The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has been opposed to them, saying that similar laws around the country have been struck down as unconstitutional limits on free speech.

For our complete coverage of this panhandling issue, including interviews with community leaders, click below.

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