Portland panhandling measure moves forward

June 12, 2013, 7:53 am

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Portland is a step closer to barring panhandlers from standing on traffic medians while asking for handouts.

The Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee voted 4-0 on Tuesday in favor of an amendment to the Portland city code that would ban people from standing on traffic medians.

The measure now goes to the full council at its meeting next Monday.

The amendment has the backing of businesses, neighborhood associations, residents and law enforcement concerned about what they call a surge in panhandling in the city. Police Chief Michael Sauschuck says he's concerned that someone panhandling on a traffic median could get hurt.

Panhandling can't be outlawed totally because of First Amendment rights.

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