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Missoula rethinking anti-panhandling ordinance

Published On: Jan 05 2014 05:53:53 PM MST
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MISSOULA, Mont. -

The Missoula City Council might have to change an ordinance it recently passed restricting panhandling following a federal judge's decision in Idaho that barred the city of Boise from enacting most of its anti-panhandling ordinance.
    
City officials say the Missoula ordinance is similar to the Boise ordinance and could be challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.
    
Anna Conley of the ACLU says that the Idaho decision suggests a constitutional challenge to the Missoula ordinance would be successful.
    
U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge wrote in the ruling Thursday that people have a right to ask others for charitable donations in public places, and the First Amendment right can't be ignored just because panhandling makes some uncomfortable.
    
Missoula City Councilman Adam Hertz says the council could take up the issue next week.