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ACLU of Ohio Urges Cities to Repeal Panhandling Laws

photo of panhandling
The organization has challenged Akron and Cleveland panhandling laws in the past.

The ACLU of Ohio has sent letters to Summit County, the cities of Canton and Youngstown, and dozens of other municipalities, urging them to end laws that ban or put limits on panhandling.

The organization said the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert protects panhandling as a form of free speech.

Joe Mead is an attorney working with the ACLU of Ohio.

“A lot of justification that cities give for why they would pass a panhandling law is that people don’t want to be panhandled. But the Constitution gives you a right to free speech, not a right to be free from speech,” he said.

The ACLU of Ohio challenged both Akron and Cleveland in the past for panhandling laws. Both cities have since repealed them.