Councilman proposes laws to ban panhandling in Bossier City

Updated: Feb. 28, 2017 at 12:38 PM CST
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BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - A Bossier City councilman is proposing 2 ordinances that would put an end to panhandling the city limits.

The activity is illegal in Shreveport but not in Bossier City where residents have previously voiced concerns about what appeared to be an increase in panhandling.

The ordinances were introduced by councilman Thomas Harvey.

The first called 'Pedestrian conduct on or near designated roadways' bans panhandling by roadways.

The ordinance says in part,

"The City Council finds that the high volume of motor vehicles traveling on congested roads in the City of Bossier makes mixing pedestrian and moving or temporarily stopped motor vehicles in the same space at the same time inherently dangerous."

It adds that the ordinance would assure free, orderly, undisrupted movement of motor vehicles on designated roadways within city limits.

The second ordinance bans aggressive solicitation or panhandling such as unwanted touching, following and persistent communication.

The 12 streets specified under the ordinance as designated roadways are:

  • Airline Drive 3105
  • Benton Road (Highway 3)
  • East Texas (Highway 80)
  • Highway 71
  • Old Minden Road
  • Barksdale Boulevard
  • Industrial Drive
  • Swan Lake Road
  • Riverside Drive
  • Traffic Street
  • Horseshoe Boulevard
  • Margaritaville Way

If the ordinances pass, a guilty panhandler could face up to 60 days in jail or $500 in fines or both.

As it stands now, in Bossier City panhandling is only illegal when people block or impede traffic.

"Specifically, obstruction of public passages," Bossier City spokesman Mark Natale said. "If they're getting out in the roadway and traffic is stopping and they're stopping traffic to solicit money, then that's an obvious charge."

The ordinances will be introduced at the March 7 city council meeting

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