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Enforcement Of Arkansas Anti-Begging Law Prohibited By Judge

ACLU Rita Sklar Bettina Brownstein
Sarah Whites-Koditschek

A federal judge is prohibiting Arkansas from enforcing its anti-begging law.

U.S. District Judge Billy Joe Wilson on Tuesday agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas that the law unconstitutionally restricts freedom of speech.

Wilson wrote that regulating speech based on content must promote a compelling government interest and said banning all begging everywhere by everyone "does not come close to chinning this bar."

The ACLU says it filed the lawsuit against Arkansas State Police director Col. Bill Bryant on behalf of Michael Rodgers, a veteran convicted of loitering with intent to beg, and Glynn Dilbeck, a homeless man cited for begging to help pay his daughter's medical bills.

Wilson wrote that Rodgers' conviction was overturned by a circuit court and that charges against Dilbeck were dismissed.

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