FORT WORTH (CBS11) – The Fort Worth City Council is set to vote Tuesday on a proposed law targeting aggressive panhandlers.
The ordinance would bar people soliciting money in a public place, from using threatening gestures, refusing to take “no” for an answer or intentionally blocking someone’s path.
It would also prohibit panhandling within 20 feet of an ATM or other places people are likely to be caught with their wallets out, including banks, check cashing businesses, parking meters and bus stations.
Anyone caught violating the ordinance would face a fine of up to $500.
Council member Cary Moon expects the measure to pass easily, but he doesn’t think it goes far enough.
“The panhandler isn’t going to pay that ticket. They’re not going to show up in court. It’s almost a futile citation for our police officers to give,” said Moon.
Moon wants Fort Worth to be the first city in Texas to make it illegal to give a panhandler money on public property.
“You can do that on private property, but government – and I know it sounds overreaching – but government curtails behavior all the time on public property,” he said.
Moon says as long as people are giving panhandlers money, they’re helping keep them on the street.
He says his proposal could go up for a vote within the next several weeks.
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