ACLU Lawsuit Moves Forward Despite Panhandling Amendment Change

Wednesday, November 8th 2017, 6:42 pm
By: Karl Torp

The ACLU is not backing down from its federal lawsuit over OKC's recently-tweaked ordinance on panhandling in a median.

The original ordinance limited panhandling based on the size of the median.

The new amendment allows someone to stay on median if the speed limit is less than 40 miles per hour. 

OKC City Council voted through the change Tuesday.

The ACLU says it's still unconstitutional because it limits free speech,

“You can’t target the poor, you can’t criminalize poverty simple to improve the image of your city,” says the ACLU’s Brady Henderson.

The ACLU is against any sort of median ban.

Meanwhile the Oklahoma Muscular Dystrophy Association thinks the amended ordinance will help their main fundraiser, the “Fill the Boot” campaign.

Fill the Boot’s fundraising total have dwindled in half over the last two years because firefighters couldn't use medians to ask for donations.

In 2015, before the original ordinance took effect, Fill the Boot raised just over $300,000. This year the total was around $142,000

“It gave me some hope and gave our families some hope,” says MDA OK. Executive Dir. Kristin Richardson.

Richardson believes the amendment opens up more than 100 intersections where firefighters can ask for donations.

The new amended ordinance goes into effect Dec 7th.