Panhandling Ordinance Passes Commision | VideoJoel Porter | 10/9/2012
On Tuesday evening, the Bismarck city commission passed an ordinance to discourage panhandling.
The new law states that people asking for money could face a $50 fine if they violate any of the following:
-Within 20 feet of a bus stop
-Within 20 feet of a crosswalk
-On any median in a city street
-On any bridge or tunnel located on or across a public roadway
-Within 20 feet of a public restroom
-In a city park
-Anywhere in downtown Bismarck
-Within 100 feet of a school or playground when children are present
-Within 20 feet of an outdoor dining or shopping area
-Within 20 feet of an ATM
-Panhandling on private property after being asked to leave
Those who aggressively panhandle by threatening or intimidating people will be arrested on a Class B misdemeanor.
Although commissioners unanimously passed the reading, they say they are sympathetic to the plight of people who are jobless or homeless.
"We can`t judge the human condition. We don`t know what`s prompting people to be in the street asking for help. Some of them legitimately need a hand from somebody," commissioner Mike Seminary said.
Panhandlers are not allowed in city parks or downtown.
Bismarck police officers say they`ll enforce the law on a complaint basis.