The City of Columbus has stopped enforcing its panhandling ordinance after similar laws were successfully challenged under a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in an Arizona case about church signs.
Assistant city attorney Joshua Cox says the First Amendment case had "an unintended consequence." The court struck down a law setting tougher restrictions for signs directing people to church services than for signs for political candidates and real estate agents. Attorneys challenging panhandling laws then drew parallels to people being prohibited from asking for money in spaces where they're free to talk about other things. The American Civil Liberties Union says cases brought in Ohio have led to repeals of panhandling laws in Akron, Dayton and Toledo.