KC residents show mixed reactions to new proposal to limit panhandling in roadways

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On Thursday, Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar introduced a new ordinance that says pedestrians can't stop, stand or remain in any intersection or crosswalk longer than the amount of time it takes to get across safely.

If this new ordinance passes, it would prevent panhandlers from standing in the median to ask for money.

“I think they should pass that ordinance. There's too many places around this city for the homeless to go eat if they need something to eat. Plus they cause traffic accidents like being out there in the medians,” Kansas City resident Donald Logan said.

Courts across the U.S. have dismissed laws banning panhandlers, on the grounds that they violate free expression rights. The recently proposed ordinance in Kansas City doesn't directly mention panhandlers -- it's wording instead focuses on safety.

“Over on 27th and Van Brunt we almost hit a guy Friday because he rolled right out there in front of us trying to get money, and there's nothing right about that. They should ban that. That should be banned,” Logan said.

Others aren't so sure an ordinance like this is what the city needs.

“I think there are those who really do need that. They`re down on their luck, and honestly, when I do have some spare bucks and when it's not going to hold up traffic, I frequently do give them some money,” Kansas City resident Mona Snoderly said.

Snoderly said she knows some people take advantage of these handouts, but also knows for some, it's the only way they know to survive.

“A lot of those ordinances actually hinder people from being able to take care of themselves. Some of them don't even have families,” Snoderly said.

This ordinance was sent to committee for vetting. The City Council will then decide what to do with this next.