ACLU Challenges Local Law on Panhandling

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged Grand Junction in 2015 to alter their restrictive panhandling laws and have now targeted other local areas such as Paonia, Palisade and Debeque.

The original law restricted available locations where panhandling was legal and also prohibited it after sunset. Many cities have established these laws around Colorado and also around the country.

This organization has launched a nationwide attack on laws that restrict panhandling and has targeted over 240 cases so far.

ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Rebecca Wallace told the Denver Post, “These outdated ordinances, which prohibit peaceful, non intrusive requests for charity, must be taken off the books.”           

Supporters of the ACLU state that these laws restrict the poor from exercising free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Local lawmakers claim that the laws were put into place in order to limit violent and aggressive panhandling. However, it has been deemed unconstitutional in over 30 cases over the past few years by the federal court.