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Battle Creek considers outlawing panhandling, loitering

Sep 4, 2016

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - Battle Creek city commissioners are scheduled to cast final votes Tuesday on ordinances aimed to regulating panhandling and loitering.

  The Battle Creek Enquirer reports  the proposals would outlaw remaining "idly" within 25 feet of an intersection and soliciting money from anyone waiting in line or near building entrances. Last month five commissioners voted in favor of the ordinances and four dissented.

  The proposals have led to debate about whether laws are needed to protect those who feel threatened by panhandlers and whether such laws are constitutional.

  Federal court rulings have found bans on begging violate the First Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a letter to city officials arguing the proposals "would not survive constitutional scrutiny." City attorneys say those issues have been addressed.