Federal Lawsuit Seeks To Overturn Arkansas Panhandling Law

Aug 7, 2017

File photo of of Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, speaking to reporters in June.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to halt a new Arkansas anti-loitering law that it says unconstitutionally targets panhandlers and that the restrictions pose the same problems as a ban on begging that was struck down last year.

The ACLU of Arkansas sued the state on Monday over the new law, which expands the definition of loitering to include someone asking for anything as charity or a gift in a harassing or threatening manner in a way that's likely to cause alarm to the other person or creates a traffic hazard. The new law was approved in April and took effect last week.

A federal judge last year struck down a section of the state's loitering law that prohibited begging for money, food or other charity.