Associated Press Published

ACLU: West Virginia Local Panhandling Push Unconstitutional


The American Civil Liberties Union is decrying attempts by West Virginia local governments to restrict panhandling as unconstitutional.

The Journal reports that in a letter to the City of Martinsburg and Berkeley County last week, Jamie Lynn Crofts of the ACLU of West Virginia said the proposal would violate First Amendment free speech rights.

Floyd McKinley “Kin” Sayre, Martinsburg City Council legal counsel, responded that the two governments are drafting a version that meets constitutional standards.

Sayre says the regulation, which still hasn’t been agreed upon, would define panhandling, say when and where panhandling is permitted, and define allowable ways to panhandle and false or misleading solicitation.

Croft says it’s possible to enforce existing harassment laws or narrowly restrict a specific spot if safety is at issue.