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Omaha to Outlaw Standing on Medians
"Mayor Jean Stothert would ban people from being on certain types of medians at many intersections for any reason except for crossing the street or doing construction work," Emily Nohr and Christopher Burbach write in Omaha World Herald. While this ordinance will affect panhandlers, it does not mention begging directly. "By prohibiting people generally from those medians, Stothert and city attorneys hope to avoid concerns about potential violations of First Amendment rights," Nohr and Burbach write. For her part, Mayor Stothert contends the ordinance is about safety.
Mayor Stothert's ordinance is one of a growing number of laws and rules around the country aimed at criminalizing panhandling and homelessness.