Slidell suspends panhandling ordinance

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New Orleans Panhandling Ordinance Ruled Unconstitutional

SLIDELL (WGNO) – Slidell’s controversial city ordinance requiring panhandlers to register with the police has been temporarily suspended.

The City of Slidell agreed not to enforce its requirement pending the court’s ruling on the ordinance’s constitutionality.

In response, the ACLU of Louisiana agreed that U.S. District Judge Lance Africk should dismiss its request for a preliminary injunction, according to a statement by the ACLU.

“This is the best possible result at this stage in the lawsuit over the First Amendment rights of people in Slidell,” ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie R. Esman said in the statement. “Slidell officials are sworn to uphold the law, and they have agreed to do that and to respect the free speech rights of those in their community. Until the court issues a final ruling, no one need fear retaliation or arrest in Slidell for engaging in protected speech.”

The lawsuit, Blitch et al. v. City of Slidell et al., was filed on December 19, 2016 on behalf of panhandlers in Slidell, including an Army veteran. The plaintiffs are represented by ACLU of Louisiana Staff Attorney Bruce Hamilton, and cooperating attorney Ronald L. Wilson.