Judge Hears Arguments Over Arkansas Panhandling Law

Sep 5, 2017

The federal courthouse in Little Rock.

Two panhandlers say they're afraid they'll be prosecuted for asking for money under a rewrite of Arkansas' anti-loitering law, but attorneys for the state say the new measure still allows begging in many forms.

A federal judge heard arguments and testimony Tuesday over a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union over the law. The ACLU has asked U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson to halt the law, which expands the definition of loitering to include someone asking for anything as charity or a gift in a harassing or threatening manner in a way that's likely to cause alarm to the other person or creates a traffic hazard.

Wilson last year struck down a section of the state's loitering law that prohibited begging for money, food or other charity.