Alabama lawmaker files bill against panhandling
GOP lawmaker Reed Ingram is prefiling a bill ahead of the start of the March legislative session. It would outlaw roadside begging for money, by adding wording to an existing state law. WSFA-TV reports that Reed’s bill would take Alabama measure against loitering a step further. His bill would prohibit an individual from loitering on a public roadway or in the right of way of a public roadway. The city of Montgomery’s ordinance banning panhandlers from asking for money was challenged last year because opponents said it violated panhandlers’ first amendment rights. So, the City of Montgomery launched the Give Smart Montgomery campaign. The idea was to encourage residents to text donations to “GIVE MGM” to 44321. Those dollars would go to the Central Alabama Community Foundation, instead of handing money to panhandlers. Ingram says roadside begging has gotten out of hand, and what he’s proposing could help municipalities statewide. He points out this public safety bill focuses on keeping both the driver and the panhandler safe. Reed says he doesn’t expect any opposition to this bill. The 2023 legislative session starts March 7.