Let's Talk Anti-Panhandling Laws
Let’s Talk New Mexico 1/18 8a: Call now 277-KUNM or 277-5866. Albuquerque’s City Council passed the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance late last year, which makes it illegal for people to stand near freeway ramps or in medians and to interact with drivers. It’s also illegal for drivers to interact with people standing in those spaces.
Do you think the law is helpful to public safety and will help prevent pedestrian deaths or traffic accidents? Or do you think it targets people experiencing extreme poverty in Albuquerque? Is the law a violation of free speech or other constitutionally guaranteed rights?
The ordinance passed on an 8-to-0 vote, with one councilor, Klarissa Peña, absent. The Albuquerque Journalpraised the new law as necessary for public safety in a city with a high number of pedestrian fatalities. But the law has also been criticized as being cruel, targeting panhandlers, who are already in a vulnerable position.
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- Nick Vottero, co-founder, Two-Way Street
- Jenny Metzler, executive director of Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless
- Gallup attorney Barry Klopfer
- Curtis Hayes, Gallup city attorney