Bismarck banning 'aggressive' panhandling

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bismarck city commissioners have voted to crack down on panhandling in the capital city.

An ordinance approved Tuesday is aimed at eliminating aggressive panhandling, or begging in which people who are solicited for money feel intimidated or threatened.

It is not an outright ban on panhandling, but it prohibits begging in many areas.

They include near ATMs, on school playgrounds, in parks, within 20 feet of a street or bus stop, in crosswalks, near public restrooms and on street medians. Violators could face a fine between $50 and $500, depending on the offense.

Commissioner Parrell Grossman says the ordinance should increase public safety while still allowing a constitutionally permissible activity.

The ordinance is modeled after one in Fargo, North Dakota's largest city.