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Springfield's Aggressive Panhandling Ordinance Repealed

City of Springfield

Springfield City Council has voted to repeal its aggressive panhandling ordinance.  This comes after a federal lawsuit was filed in December, which suspended any restrictions on panhandling in the city. 

The only council member to vote against the repeal was Kristi Fulnecky.  She feels the city should fight getting rid of the ordinance.

"This has to do with aggressive panhandling.  This is in-your-face aggressive," she said.

She took a jab at fellow council members when talking about why she would vote against the repeal.

"If you're going to spend many on anything, I mean, we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting our county, our cops, sometimes our fellow council members," she said.  "Why not use this money to fight for issues that mean something to our citizens to be subject to an aggressive person?"

Council member Ken McClure said they took an oath to support the constitution even when they don’t agree with it.  He said that’s why he planned to vote for the repeal.

"The court has ruled.  A case last year dealt with freedom of speech issues.  It has been since that time interpreted through other courts as well as the Supreme Court relating to basic First Amendment rights.  That gets into what we are talking about with the panhandling.  Council, in my opinion, would be derelict in its duty if it did not adhere to and follow the dictates of the court, so for that reason I intend to vote for the repeal," he said.

Springfield city manager, Greg Burris, said a revised ordinance based on safety concerns is expected to be looked at by the city.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.
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