Alabama council pushes stricter penalties for panhandling

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama city council has approved an ordinance to strengthen enforcement against panhandlers.

News outlets report the Montgomery City Council passed the ordinance proposed by Councilman Arch Lee unanimously by a vote of 9-0 Tuesday.

Lee says aggressive panhandling is a problem plaguing every district of the city.

The ordinance is separate from a state law that’s already in place. It defines panhandling and includes city streets and public places the state law doesn’t include.

First offenses will be met with a fine and a minimum of two days in jail, unless suspended by a judge. Subsequent sentences cannot be suspended and jail time increases with each violation.

City officials say it will likely be a few weeks before the ordinance is enforced.

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