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ACLU Asks Ohio Cities To Repeal Panhandling Bans

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is asking 69 Ohio municipalities to repeal bans on panhandling. Jim Letizia reports.  

Columbus enacted an ordinace in June concerning aggressive panhandling, but that measure is not part of the ACLU's request. The request includes Bexley, Grove City, Westerville, Whitehall, Worthington, Chillicothe, Circleville, Heath, Lancaster, Newark and West Jefferson. The request says unless the basic needs of homeless people are met - such as food, health care and housing - they have a legal right to seek assitance.

In 2017, the organization challenged Cleveland’s panhandling ordinance. The city repealed it ten months later. Akron and Dayton repealed measures in 2016. Columbus' ordinance was designed to bring the city into compliance with a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The measure bans aggressive panhandling in the middle of a street or freeway ramp; bars panhandlers from touching people or following someone who has told them no; and creates a three-foot buffer zone around ATMs.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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