Parkersburg Mayor Expects Panhandling Injunction

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell says a federal judge likely will block the city's ban on panhandling.

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia sued the city in September over the ban. The federal lawsuit argues that the city's panhandling ordinance violates poor and homeless people's free speech rights.

Newell says the judge has issued a temporary injunction blocking the ordinance. He expects the injunction to become permanent this week.

The ordinance prohibits soliciting charitable donations on public sidewalks and pedestrian walkways.

Newell says the ordinance's intent was safety, not to discourage panhandlers. But it targets money and ignores other forms of solicitation, which Newell says could extend to people carrying roadside advertising.

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