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Indy committee advances new panhandling proposal

November 20, 2013

An Indianapolis City-County Council committee has advanced a proposal that would ban panhandling and other forms of begging near bank entrances, ATMs and other specified areas.

The council's Rules and Public Policy Committee advanced the proposal Tuesday night on a 5-2 vote. The measure would ban panhandling or passive solicitation that includes cup shaking, sign holding and street performances for money. Those acts would be prohibited within 50 feet of ATMs, bank entrances and exits, and parking meters or kiosks that accept money.

The measure would also apply to areas near bus stops, sidewalk cafes, marked crosswalks, trails and underpasses.

City officials and council members came up with the latest ordinance after a two-day trip last month to Raleigh, N.C., and San Antonio to look for creative solutions, IBJ reported Nov. 18.

Some downtown leaders don’t think street performers should be included in the restrictions, but many city-county councilors say it would be difficult to define what constitutes a legitimate performance.

Some councilors are willing to consider requiring panhandlers and street performers to obtain a free permit, as is done in Raleigh.

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