Boise passes new, less restrictive panhandling law

January 14, 2014 

A law that Boise City Council members passed in September made asking for money or other things of value illegal near banks and ATMs, from people waiting in line, from people about to cross a road and in several other circumstances.

Most of that law has now been repealed. A new law is in its place, and its only restriction on panhandling is to make aggressive requests for money illegal. Aggressive, for the purposes of the law, means intimidating, threatening, making unwanted physical contact, blocking a person’s way or continuing to ask for money close to a person who has said no.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and two homeless Boise men sued the city in November, saying the city's original law violated First Amendment free speech rights. Early this month, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking most of that law.

The city responded by writing a new law that contained none of the restrictions the judge deemed were likely unconstitutional.

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