Artesia Targeted By ACLU In Panhandling Letter

The American Civil Liberties Union recently sent a letter to ten different cities across the state demanding they repeal their panhandling ordinances… and now we find out Artesia is one of them. The ACLU claims that anti-panhandling ordinances are unconstitutional and a violation of free speech, as well as discriminatory against the homeless. The ACLU says the letters are a coordinated effort, along with the National Center on Homlessness and Poverty. Letters were sent to hundreds of municipalities across the US. In Artesia, panhandlers must first get a permit approved by the police department. The issue was discussed at Tuesday’s city council meeting, with Mayor Raye Miller stating that the city’s panhandling ordinance was created because the city had a serious problem with people who weren’t homeless coming into the city and begging for money at intersections, creating a danger to both themselves and the traveling public. Miller has asked the fire chief to look into whether anyone has actually been cited under the city’s ordinance and report back.