New Ark. Panhandling Law Blocked by Judge

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA) - A federal judge on Wednesday blocked Arkansas' current law that targets panhandling, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. 

The ACLU filed its lawsuit against an Arkansas law that targets 'aggressive' panhandling in August, saying the legislation violated the First Amendment. 

This is the second panhandling law that the ACLU has targeted in Arkansas. The state's previous panhandling law was struck down by the courts in 2016. The courts ruled the law was "too broad" in its approach to regulating panhandling. 

Now, U.S. District Judge Billy Roy has granted a preliminary injunction against the state's current law, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville), in 2017, the ACLU said. That law is Act 847, and Roy specifically enjoined the state from enforcing section 5-71-213(a)(3). 

That portion of the law states, "A person commits the offense of loitering if he or she: lingers or remains on a sidewalk, roadway or public right-of-way, in a public parking lot or public transportation vehicle or facility or on private property, for the purpose of asking for anything as charity or a gift in a harassing or threatening manner, in a way likely to cause alarm to the other person or under circumstances creating a traffic hazard or impediment." 

Roy called the law "plainly unconstitional." He also said the state failed to "satisfy the rigorous constitutional standards that apply when government attempts to regulate expression based on its content.”

To see his full ruling, click here

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