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Government & Politics

Canton City Council to Consider Panhandling Ordinance Repeal Tonight

photo of downtown Canton, Ohio
TIM RUDELL
/
WKSU
The Canton ordinance prohibits panhandling within three feet of the person solicited, or by using false statements.

Canton City Council is set to vote tonight on whether to repeal a panhandling ordinance that’s being called unconstitutional.

The ACLU contacted more than 200 cities last August to tell them their panhandling laws would not stand up to a legal challenge, and were unconstitutional.  Canton’s law director reviewed the legislation with council last month, and agreed.  Cleveland State University Law Professor Joe Mead is a volunteer attorney with the ACLU, and says of the ordinances that have actually gone to a court challenge since 2015, all of them have been struck down.

“The responses we’ve received have acknowledged that there are problems with laws that single out solicitation for special restriction.  And we’ve gotten about a dozen cities that have taken action to repeal unconstitutional ordinances.”

Among the cities in Ohio that have recently repealed similar ordinances is Twinsburg, while Youngstown officials are reviewing their law.