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Waukesha city attorney: Panhandling law should be repealed

Posted at 7:14 AM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 08:27:34-04

WAUKESHA -- Waukesha's city attorney feels they have no choice but to repeal a law. He wants homeless to be allowed to panhandle again.

In a memo, city attorney Brian Running gave two big reasons the panhandling law should be repealed: recent court rulings and the fines are not working.

The ACLU calls these ordinances 'anti-begging laws' that punish the most vulnerable part of our society.

Running wrote in the memo:

"We have done our research, communicated with other city attorneys, and looked at this from every angle, and we have reached an inescapable conclusion: The ACLU is right, our ordinance doesn't pass muster under a couple recent case decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court (Reed v. Town of Gilbert) and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (Norton v. City of Springfield)."

Meaning if person can ask for directions or donations, they should be able to panhandle.

Alderman Aaron Perry tells TODAY'S TMJ4 he believes the repeal will pass unanimously at their meeting Monday night -- but it still doesn't solve the problem at hand.

"I think we're at a level where we need to address something. I think there's an addiction problem. I think there's a case law issue that we need to address as well," Perry said.

The city attorney says there have been nine panhandling citations in the past two years. None of them have been paid.

The next common council meeting is Monday at 6 p.m.