Carbondale’s panhandling ordinance faces scrutiny by ACLU

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CARBONDALE, Ill. – The city of Carbondale has received a second letter from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups challenging its panhandling ordinance.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports the letter sent earlier this month says the city could face legal action if it doesn’t scrap the ordinance which prohibits panhandling in any public space. It asks for a response by Aug. 19.

City Manager Gary Williams says the city continues to review the ordinance and will consult with City Council members before responding.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled panhandling is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. Advocacy groups say dozens of panhandling ordinances have been successfully challenged in courts.

The ACLU and other groups first sent a letter to Carbondale and other communities about panhandling ordinances last year.

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