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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

ACLU Sues City of Springfield Over Panhandling Ordinance

City of Springfield

The ACLU of Missouri says it is suing the City of Springfield over its panhandling ordinance.

According to a news release from the ACLU, the suit was filed on behalf of 61-year-old Bobby Honicutt who the organization says was threatened with criminal charges by a Springfield police officer after holding a sign on a city sidewalk to try to solicit money for his wife's medical expenses.

The ACLU claims information given to Honicutt by the city before he made the decision to ask for money led him to believe he would not be in violation of the ordinance if he just held up a sign.

Springfield revised its panhandling ordinance in January.  One change prohibits soliciting money by spoken, written or printed appeal within five feet of a curb edge, sidewalk, shoulder, intersection median or highway off ramp.

City spokesperson, Cora Scott, said Thursday afternoon the city had not been been served nor received any notice of the lawsuit.  She said they are reserving comment for when they know more.