February 1, 2013

'Aggressive' panhandling now illegal in Mass. city

The Associated Press

WORCESTER, Mass. — So-called "aggressive" panhandling is now illegal in Worcester.

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READ MORE . . . at telegram.com

The city council took a final vote Tuesday to outlaw certain types of panhandling, ending nearly nine years of effort by the council to put curbs on the practice.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that the new restrictions include prohibitions against soliciting money from motorists while standing in the street, on a traffic island or while walking in and out of traffic.

Some councilors opposed the law, saying its enforcement would add new duties to an already stretched police force. Other opponents said the law violated free speech rights. But advocates said the law was about public safety and the measure passed the council overwhelmingly.

The council also outlawed "tag days," at which charitable groups solicit donations from motorists at intersections.

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