City commission amends panhandling ordinance


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A motion to amend and repeal several Mount Pleasant city ordinances addressing dangerous, distracting and intimidating conduct in certain places was passed tonight at the Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting.

This revisited discussions had late last month, which called into question if the city was in violation of first amendment rights in prohibiting solicitation within 50 feet of intersections, ATMs and other businesses.

The updated amendments lessened the solicitation prohibition space by 10 feet, from 50 to 40. 

The amendment also removed the phrase "begging in a public place" from section 131.14 back in December, which was created to keep solicitors from bothering residents in public places. Commissioner Nicholas Madaj said the words were struck from the amendment so as not to penalize those stricken by poverty.

"Now with the ordinance, as presented here, it identifies specific conduct we want to prohibit which we call aggressive solicitation," Madaj said. "I believe this is an improvement (as) it identifies specific conduct we want to prohibit without infringing on a protected (First Amendment) right in the absence of an evidence based need.

The motion passed with a 4-3 vote after several attempted amendments made by Commissioner Tony Kulick.

Several fraternities were also recognized at tonight's meeting for their efforts in Greeks Clean the Streets.

Ling congratulated the members of Greek Life on their efforts in keeping the community trash-free and said it was much appreciated by members of the Mount Pleasant community.

The next city commission meeting is at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 9 in City Commission Chambers at city hall.

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