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Dayton City Commission Considers Tightening City Panhandling Restrictions

Dayton's officials are coming up against some unknowns in the budget process for next year.
Derek Jensen
Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Dayton is again exploring ways to ban panhandling along major city highways. At a meeting Wednesday evening, the city commission is expected to review an ordinance that would criminalize the practice.

Dayton first introduced legislation to restrict panhandling in 2011. That law required panhandlers to register with the city, and restricted begging to daylight hours. It also allowed cops to arrest violators instead of just citing them.

After legal challenges, the law was partially repealed in 2016.

Now, the city commission is proposing a new ordinance that would make panhandling along 51 roadways within city limits a fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to $250 in fines.

If passed, the ordinance would penalize pedestrians who come within three feet of operating vehicles. It also prohibits motorists from slowing down specifically to interact with pedestrians.

City officials have said the proposed law would improve safety along Dayton’s roadways. Critics say panhandling restrictions violate free speech rights.

The ordinance is scheduled to have its first reading at the Dayton City Commission meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. at 101 West Third Street.