ACLU Is Suing Indiana Over New Panhandling Law

INDIANAPOLIS — The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is suing the state over a new panhandling law.

The ACLU claims that it violates the First Amendment by all but banning solicitation in the state’s cities.

The group claims that the law, set to take effect July 1, would prohibit most forms of financial solicitation by individuals and groups in the downtown areas of Indiana’s cities by expanding the areas where panhandling is barred.

ACLU legal director Ken Falk

Current Indiana law includes a provision barring people from asking for money within 20 feet of an ATM or the entrance to a bank. The new law’s provisions include barring solicitation within 50 feet of ATMs, business and restaurant entrances or sites of a financial transaction, including parking meters.

Ken Falk the Indiana ACLU legal director claims the tighter restrictions will leave “virtually no sidewalks in downtown Indianapolis or any downtown area in any Indiana city where people can engage in this activity which courts have recognized is protected by the First Amendment.