Heated meeting as Boise passes panhandling restrictions

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Boise City Council passed an ordinance cracking down on aggressive panhandlers, which drew protest and an angry outburst during their meeting Tuesday night.

The ordinance would make it illegal for panhandlers to solicit near ATM's, transit stations, or people eating at outdoor restaurants.

The council passed the ordinance with a 3-1 vote. Councilors who were in favor of the ordinance said there was a lot of misunderstanding about the rule changes. They also said they support the homeless, but said people should also feel safe while around downtown.

Lauren McLean was the only 'no' vote on the council. She said the ordinance did more than just crack down on aggressive panhandling, and would only push the problem elsewhere.

"What I see happening, especially in the downtown corridor, is that we are pushing evidence of a problem to the fringes of the downtown corridor, and then we have a problem somewhere else," said McLean.

After the vote, one man screamed obscenities at the council members and the mayor, calling them "classist pigs" among other things.

Some who work with the homeless in Boise said after the meeting they plan boycott businesses in the city.