El Paso City Council Approves "Aggressive Solicitation" Ordinance

POSTED: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 9:23am

UPDATED: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 10:17am

El Paso City Council approved an "aggressive solicitation" ordinance Tuesday morning, that officials say will prevent solicitors from asking people for money within fifteen feet of an ATM, bank entrance, restaurant, parking meter, bus stop, school, and street median. Business owners will also be allowed to post signs on their property, prohibiting panhandling. Any individual purchasing items from a solicitor on the street may also be fined by police.

City council representative, Susie Byrd, proposed an amended version of this ordinance at the meeting yesterday, which eliminated the provision banning panhandling within 15 feet of certain places so that police would not unfairly fine the homeless. That proposal was rejected.

Several other cities in Texas, such as Austin, Arlington, and San Antonio have adopted very similar laws. The aggressive solicitation ordinance will go into effect within the next 60 days.

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The crazy thing about this ordinance is that I have not heard anyone mention how the ordinance is going to inform & educate those targeted by the ordinance. In addition how is it going to be enforced and by whom. Yeah I know the easy answer is the EPPD but please give me abreak is that really going to be their priority. I don't see city council doing anything about why people panhandle nor about the lack of mental health services. Try solving that with another crazy ordinance why don't you.

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