The ACLU of Indiana is challenging a new law that further criminalizes panhandling, saying the measure is unconstitutional and that panhandling is protected by the First Amendment.
The new state law makes it a misdemeanor to ask for money within 50 feet of any place where financial transactions are made, including parking meters. That effectively bans panhandling in downtown Indianapolis and other large cities.
“It is sometimes difficult to confront the face of poverty,” Jane Henegar, executive director at the ACLU of Indiana says. “But we must assist those who suffer the consequences of America’s income inequality and failed mental health system, not sweep them out of sight.”
The ACLU of Indiana filed the suit on behalf of its own staff, which solicits money downtown on Constitution Day. The law is set to go into effect July 1