Mississippi ACLU asks cities to repeal panhandling penalties

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David Amsler / CC BY 2.0

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi is asking 16 cities in the state to eliminate local laws that penalize panhandling.

The organization says in a news release Wednesday that the request is part of a national effort that includes work by the National Law Center of Homelessness & Poverty.

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A federal appeals court in 2015 ruled that an ordinance in Springfield, Illinois, that penalized people for begging for money in public places is unconstitutional.

ACLU of Mississippi says that since last year, four cities in the state have repealed panhandling ordinances – Ridgeland, Meridian, Starkville, and Southaven.

It is asking for other cities to do the same – Brandon, Clarksdale, Cleveland, Clinton, Corinth, Greenville, Greenwood, Grenada, Gulfport, Horn Lake, Jackson, Long Beach, Natchez, Olive Branch, Pascagoula and Vicksburg.