Columbus City Council holds hearing on aggressive panhandling


Columbus City Council is looking to impose legislation that would address the issue of aggressive panhandling.

On Wednesday, members of council gave members of the community a chance to offer feedback on proposed legislation that was based on community input from a March 2018 hearing.

The new legislation enforces the following:

  • Knowingly touching or grabbing another person or their property without consent, while attempting to engage in distribution
  • Knowingly following another person while attempting to engage in distribution after receiving affirmative communication that the person is unwilling/unable to participate
  • Coming within 3 feet of an individual actively using an ATM
  • Obstructing a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, waterway, elevator, aisle, hallway, entrance, or exit to which the public has a reasonable expectation of passage

Columbus police say panhandling and aggressive panhandling has increased, and the opioid crisis is a contributing factor.

“This ordinance doesn't ban panhandling it adds provisions,” Columbus City Council Pro Tem Michael Stinziano said.

“I think it's important that people feel safe in their neighborhoods and they don't feel like they are be aggressively addressed.”

Columbus City Council is slated to vote on the new ordinance Monday.