An interesting article from the Denver Post about the City Council's attempts to limit panhandling in the downtown area. From the article:
Denver took the first step Wednesday toward clamping down on panhandlers with initial approval of three new ordinances that limit beggars' activities but also restrict how and when police can arrest them.
The City Council's safety committee endorsed measures to prohibit beggars from sitting or lying down in downtown Denver, stepping out into traffic or approaching diners at outside restaurant tables. But police would not be able to arrest violators without first giving them a warning or attempting to connect them with mental-health or substance-abuse counselors.
The proposals are the city's first attempt at restricting the homeless with enforceable laws since Mayor John Hickenlooper's 10-year plan to end homelessness was endorsed by the council in October.
While the proposed ordinance does make arrest a "last resort" it is hard for me to see how the city can put a limit on panhandling and put a limit on free speech. I guess a simliar ordinance in Seattle was challenged on such grounds, but was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court. If anyone has any thoughts on this please leave a comment.
Click here to read the article.
Also check out Poor, Poorer, Poorest:The Politics of Poverty by CU-Denver Professor Tony Robinson