Legal Fight Begins Over OKC Panhandling Ordinance

Monday, November 19th 2018, 8:34 am
By: Ashley Holden

The ACLU will take a lawsuit to federal court over panhandling, Monday. 

This after the Oklahoma City Council approved an ordinance that would ban panhandling from city medians almost two years ago. But it was back in 2016 that the ACLU decided to take it to court.

When originally passed, the ordinance banned all panhandling or fundraising from any median less than 30 feet wide. 

Most in Oklahoma City are under that width but panhandlers would also be required to be 200 feet from an intersection.

Anyone caught by authorities would be fined up to $100. The ACLU decided to fight this and around spring of 2016 they filed the federal lawsuit.

Even with the legal action the debate surrounding panhandling continues.

In 2017, city council passed an amendment that permits someone to stay on a median if the speed limit is less than 40 miles per hour.

In the past, city officials had cited safety as a concern. 

But the ACLU issued this statement on their website: "The vast inconsistencies of and conflicting rationales for the different versions of the ordinance reveal the disingenuous nature of the traffic safety justification from the start."

To read more, click here

The trial is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Then it is planned for two days next week.