Columbus Stops Enforcing Panhandling Ordinance

Jul 17, 2017

Columbus has stopped enforcing its panhandling law after similar laws were challenged successfully using a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in an Arizona case about church signs.

Assistant city attorney Joshua Cox says that First Amendment case had "an unintended consequence" on panhandling enforcement.

The court struck down a law that set tougher restrictions for signs directing people to church services than for signs for political candidates and real estate agents.

Lawyers challenging panhandling laws then drew parallels to people being prohibited from asking for money in spaces where they're free to talk about other things.

Joe Mead, a volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, says cases brought in Ohio have led to repeals of panhandling laws in Akron, Dayton and Toledo.