KALISPELL - The Kalispell City Council is debating a panhandling ordinance that would make it a fineable offense to solicit or donate on city streets.
Council members reviewed a sample ordinance that holds both the driver and pedestrian responsible for the exchange of property or money during a Monday work session.
The exception to the proposed rules would be if the vehicle was legally parked.
Councilman Chad Graham says this isn’t an ordinance to specifically target panhandlers but to maintain the free flow of traffic on city streets.
The current ordinance prohibits certain acts of panhandling including panhandling within 20 feet of a street intersection, highway or bus stop, in any public transportation vehicle, or on private property.
Panhandling becomes a misdemeanor offense if there is any sort of aggressive behavior such as blocking a person's path or harassing.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit the exchange of money or goods from a pedestrian to a vehicle and vice versa in the right of way and on city streets to create a free flow of traffic.
There would be a fine for both the pedestrian and driver if cited for breaking the ordinance.
The City Council will meet on Monday, March 20, 2023 ay their next regularly scheduled meeting where this ordinance will be discussed further.