Dallas, TX

Dallas May Soon Fine People for Panhandling

Larry Lease

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Dallas City Council is considering fining those who are caught panhandling on the streets.RK/Unsplash

The city of Dallas is considering fining people for standing or walking in city streets asking for money or food. According to Dallas News, the City Council is set to consider a proposal next week that would ban pedestrians from being on traffic medians that are less than 6 feet wide, in a road without medians or other areas of the streets including bike lanes.

Those who are suspected of violating the new rule would be issued a citation for a Class C misdemeanor which would lead to the fine. The rule comes as the city attempts to stem panhandling in the street and on roadsides.

According to Dallas News, a pilot program was started in 2021 that urged drivers not to give anything to panhandlers and instead donate to nonprofit homeless service providers. This program was also used to encourage residents to report those soliciting money in the street to the city's non-emergency line.

The city has not said how this pilot program has worked out. During Monday's City Council committee on Monday, transportation officials painted the proposal as just addressing pedestrian safety. Under the program, city marshals and caseworkers will respond to panhandling and provide referrals to homeless service providers and other groups for assistance with housing, food, and mental health.

If violators decide to fight the citation, the case could end up in municipal court, where they could end up with fines and court fees. As the debate continues over how to take care of the panhandling problem, the issue of free speech is rising to the surface. According to D Magazine, the Supreme Court has ruled that panhandling is free speech.

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I specialize in crime, entertainment and political stories. I have spent eight years as a freelance writer and journalist.

Dallas, TX
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