O’FALLON, Mo. – A new bill in O’Fallon, Missouri, aims to keep panhandlers off the city’s streets.

O’Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy said the bill was passed after he and council members heard complaints from residents.

“The residents were calling not only myself, but the council, and asked them, ‘Hey, is there anything we can do to stop this?’” he said. “So, we took it to legal and legal says, ‘This is what we can do,’ and this is what we passed, and it was a unanimous vote. That was they wanted – to stop people from being in the roadway soliciting.”

Violating the law could result in an arrest and a $500 fine. The O’Fallon Police Department says it’s also a matter of safety.

“The ordinance focused on anyone in the roadway, so if you walk into our roadway, take something from a vehicle, or hand something to a vehicle, no matter what it is, you’re in violation of that ordinance, and our officers could take action if they feel like there’s a safety violation,” Sgt. Bryan Harr said.

Is the mayor worried about pushback from houseless advocates?

“We had our legal look at it and no we do not! No, I don’t think so, cause I think we’ve got a lot of phone calls from people complaining about folks in the roadways soliciting for money,” Hennessy said. “I do not have a problem with somebody coming and challenging that, because my big thing is I’m out here for the safety of our residents!”