Boise Council to Vote on Panhandling Measure Tonight


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All eyes will be on the Boise City Council Tuesday evening when they vote and explain their reasoning for a controversial measure which would restrict panhandling.

But just before the meeting of the City Council gets underway, the ACLU of Idaho wants one last chance to show its displeasure over the proposal which it says "threatens to erode the civil liberties of all people"

Advocates will hold what they're calling a "peaceful protest" on the steps of City Hall, beginning at 5 p.m., at which time the ACLU says it will also conduct "an educational session about the ordinance."

There isn't expected to be any public testimony before this evening's vote. On July 30 members of the public took nearly three hours to comment on the ordinance, with the overwhelming majority pushing back against the proposal.

Some speakers saw the ordinances as a disproportionate response to a minor problem. Spencer Harrison described aggressive people on the street as a perennial problem of cities.

"Aggressive people are always going to exist," he said.

The so-called Public Solicitation Ordinance, as revised, would put further restrictions on individuals looking for help. It would penalize soliciting from roadways and panhandling near banks, ATMS, sidewalk cafes, service lines, bus stops, tax stands, public parking payment stations and in parking garages. An initial violation would incur an infraction. If the individual is acting in an aggressive manner, it would become a misdemeanor violation.

If approved, the ordinance would become effective Jan. 2, 2014


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