Urban County Council passes panhandling ordinance
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – By a vote of 13-to-2, Lexington’s Urban County Council Thursday night approved an ordinance that prohibits panhandlers and pedestrians from approaching vehicles at most major intersections.
Vice Mayor Steve Kay and Councilman Bill Farmer Jr. were the only council members to vote against the ordinance.
The new ordinance takes effect in 60-days.
The new ordinance’s official name is The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Ordinance. It replaces the city’s original ordinance that was struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court in February. The ruling said the city’s prohibition on panhandling violated the First Amendment, which protects free speech.
Following the court ruling, the number of panhandlers on city streets increased dramatically, which city officials said was both a nuisance and safety issue for panhandlers and motorists.
The new ordinance prohibits people from being in roads and medians and bans pedestrians from approaching vehicles on 75 major roads in Fayette County.