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ACLU Sues Worcester Over New Anti-Panhandling laws

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Panhandling. (CBS)

Panhandling. (CBS)

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WORCESTER (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has sued the city of Worcester over two new anti-panhandling ordinances the group claims violate the constitutional right to free speech.

The city passed the local laws in January to outlaw certain types of panhandling, including soliciting money from motorists while standing in the street, on a traffic island or while walking in and out of traffic. Advocates said the law was needed to protect public safety.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Worcester, asking for an injunction prohibiting the city from enforcing the ordinances. The ACLU represents two people who solicit money because they depend on assistance from strangers for food and shelter. The third plaintiff is a local politician who is now prohibited from campaigning on traffic islands and rotaries.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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