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Battle Creek approves regulations for panhandling, loitering

Battle Creek city commissioners have approved ordinances aimed at regulating panhandling and loitering.

The proposals outlaw remaining “idly” within 25 feet of an intersection and soliciting money from anyone waiting in line or near building entrances. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports commissioners voted Tuesday on the proposals, which take effect in 10 days.

Violations would be considered civil infractions and could result in fines.

The proposals led to debate about whether laws are needed to protect those who feel threatened by panhandlers and whether such laws are constitutional.

Federal court rulings have found bans on begging violate the First Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a letter to city officials arguing the proposals “would not survive constitutional scrutiny.” City attorneys say those issues have been addressed.  (AP)

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