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ACLU sends letter to Battle Creek urging them to reject anti-solicitation laws

Jul 26, 2016

The ACLU is urging Battle Creek officials to reject proposed anti-panhandling laws.

The civil liberties group sent the Battle Creek city commission a letter discouraging proposals that would regulate solicitation and panhandling.

Battle Creek city officials wrote the so-called "aggressive solicitation" proposals, based largely on complaints from local business owners and residents.

Miriam Aukerman is with the ACLU of Michigan and she says it's not illegal to ask for help.

“We all have the right to ask for help if we need it, and that includes people who are very poor, that includes organizations asking for money like a Salvation Army bell ringer,” Aukerman says.

Aukerman says cities often consider these kinds of laws because people don't like thinking about poverty.

“I think people are often uncomfortable with seeing poverty,” she says. “It reminds us of how much we have and how little other people have, and that can make us uncomfortable.”

The ACLU says the proposals may also be unconstitutional.