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Will New Panhandling Law Be Enforced?

Now we'll see if Albuquerque's new anti-panhandling law will actually be enforced, what with the Albuquerque Police Department being chronically short of officers.

On Monday night, the City Council unanimously passed a pedestrian safety ordinance, which bars pedestrians from soliciting motorists on most street medians, and on most sidewalks. And it bars motorists from interacting with pedestrians in most instances.

Once Mayor Richard Berry signs the bill, if you want to give to a panhandler you'll have to pull onto a side street or parking lot, and the panhandler would have to follow you.

The ordinance, which was sponsored by Councilor Trudy Jones, would also prohibit firefighters from soliciting contribution in the medians. It also bars things like cookie sales and pamphleteering in the medians and on sidewalks. And it bars motorists from interacting with panhandles and others while in traffic lanes.

The problem now is will APD be able to enforce the new law?

Jones told her fellow councilors that she had spoken with APD Chief Gorden Eden and he assured her that the department has the resources to enforce the ordinance.

There will undoubtedly be a legal challenge to the new law, but because it bars everyone from interacting with motorists on medians, not just panhandlers, it might have a better chance of surviving those legal challenges.

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