PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A federal judge is hearing testimony as the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine challenges an ordinance banning panhandlers from standing in street medians in Portland.
The ordinance was spurred by an upsurge in the number of homeless people looking for roadside handouts coupled with an increase in reports of near misses with vehicles, intoxicated panhandlers and even altercations among homeless people jockeying for the best location.
But enforcement has been on hold while the ACLU of Maine challenges the ordinance on constitutional grounds.
U.S. District Judge George Singal was hearing testimony Tuesday from the Portland police chief, a panhandler, political activists and others. There’s no timetable for a ruling.