Boise plans public hearing on panhandling restrictions

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- The City of Boise wants to hear what you think about proposed restrictions to panhandling in the city limits.

The city has drafted two proposed ordinances placing restrictions on panhandling .

And the city council is holding a public hearing tomorrow at 6 p.m. at City Hall where the public can weigh in on the plans.

"What the city's trying to do is make Boise as livable as possible," said Adam Park, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bieter. "We'd like to see a reduction in the number of panhandlers."

In part, the public solicitation ordinance would prohibit soliciting money from motorists on roadways, soliciting outside banks and ATMs and soliciting through physical contact and threats.

The second ordinance would preserve access to public property by prohibiting sitting and lying on sidewalks.

These proposed ordinances would not eliminate panhandling altogether. Passive solicitation would still be legal in public places.

Courts have ruled a total ban would be a violation of freedom of speech. And indeed the City of Boise has made exceptions in the proposed ordinances to accommodate street musicians and other types of activities.

And the city urges charitable donations to non-profit groups that help people down on their luck.