Proposal to ban sitting, lying down in Mile Square withdrawn

The sponsor of a controversial Indianapolis City-County Council proposal to ban people from sitting and lying down in downtown’s Mile Square withdrew his own proposal on Monday night, effectively killing it.

Minority Leader Mike McQuillen, who said the purpose of the proposal was intended to curb panhandling and increase the sense of safety downtown, proposed withdrawing the proposal after receiving little support for it.

McQuillen’s colleagues unanimously agreed with his decision to withdraw the proposal, which many saw as an attack on the city’s homeless population.

Withdrawing a proposal means it “falls off the calendar,” according to the council’s lawyer.

The move Monday night followed a lengthy and lively council committee meeting in late November that brought out mostly opponents—and a few supporters—of the proposal.

McQuillen has said he was trying to start a conversation about a problem in the city.

Mayor Joe Hogsett, who decided against taking a position on the proposal, recently announced a $500,000 investment to curb panhandling and help the homeless.

Under the mayor's $500,000 annual plan, half of the funds would be “allocated to partner organizations for permanent housing solutions and direct services for the city’s downtown homeless population.” The funds would come from parking meter revenue.

The other half of the money would go toward “heightened law enforcement efforts in areas of downtown that have seen aggressive panhandling.”

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