The city of Albuquerque is being sued over its controversial panhandling ordinance.
Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit, claiming the ordinance restricts people’s free speech rights. “That takes away the right of people to solicit donations from people who are wanting to give them,” said Maria Martinez Sanchez, a staff attorney with the ACLU.
According to the ordinance, you cannot solicit on medians or sidewalks and it’s illegal for drivers to interact with anyone who is. But city councilors say it is not about getting rid of panhandling. They claim the ordinance is about safety.
If you are caught violating the law, you could be fined up to $500 or put in jail for up to 90 days.
The ACLU said this will just make matters worse for those who are already in a bad situation. They claim panhandling for some is the only way to make money.
KOAT did reach out to the city of Albuquerque. They said they cannot comment about an ongoing lawsuit.
Authored by Mike Tigas