ACLU calls proposed panhandling permit unconstitutional

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia says a proposed city ordinance requiring people asking for money to obtain permits is unconstitutional.
ACLU of West Virginia Legal Director Jamie Lynn Crofts told The Charleston Gazette-Mail on Tuesday that the First Amendment prevents the government from requiring people to take certain steps in order to exercise their constitutional rights. The bill introduced to the Charleston City Council on Monday would also bar panhandling at high-traffic areas like large intersections.
The bill’s lead sponsor, Councilwoman Becky Ceperley, said the point is not to restrict free speech but keep people safe and make sure solicitation is done “in an orderly fashion.”
Violators of the proposed ordinance could face community service or jail.
Two public meetings are planned before the council votes.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,