Atlanta has one, as do dozens of other cities.
Augusta’s new panhandling ordinance bans aggressive and intimidating begging.
That means beggars would face a warning at first, then a fine, then jail time.
Yesterday we spoke with some downtown business owners.
Some say panhandling is turning away potential customers. Others say it’s not a big problem.
And today we spoke with some commissioners who also had mixed views about the ordinance.
"My point is that...I don't know if we need to make it downtown or west Augusta or south Augusta. We need to make it all of Augusta Richmond County," says commissioner Don Grantham.
"I think incarcerations or fining is going to cause additional problems,” says commissioner Marion Williams. “If a man ain’t got no money, we're going to keep him in jail much longer. The sheriff is going to complain about overcrowding, then we got to build another jail, then we got to feed 'em. You can't just put them on the floor. It’s a snowball effect.”
"I am all for the rights of all people but a person does not have a right to interrupt my dinner, my stroll with my family, and aggressively solicit money, which is exactly what they are doing downtown," says commissioner Andy Cheek.
The ordinance just passed.
But the commissioners have also decided to extend the ordinance to not just downtown but the galleria.
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