‘Soft Rollout’ of Panhandling Ban
Panhandling is becoming a predicament in Maine.
Lewiston is looking to enact a ban on ‘aggressive panhandling’ as Bangor and Portland already have. However, Portland has taken their panhandling problem to a new level. Last month, Maine’s largest city banned panhandlers from its medians.
Police will begin the enforcement of the ordnance today but plan on issuing more warnings than fines. With the ban officers can now ask panhandlers to leave the median. Fines for panhandling in a median range from $100 to $500.
The City Council unanimously passed the ban, calling it a public saftey concern. Panhandlers dodging in and out of traffic is unsafe for the panhandler and drivers. There have also been many near miss accidents with drivers suddenly stopping to hand over spare change.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is still considering whether they will challenge Portland’s ordinance in court. States with similar bans have seen their ordinances be deemed unconstitutional in court.