Hopkinsville City Council Approves Ordinance Targeting Panhandling, Jaywalking
Under an ordinance that Hopkinsville City Council passed Tuesday night on first reading, panhandlers would be prohibited from stepping into some of the city's busiest streets to take cash from passing vehicles.
The ordinance also prohibits jaywalking on the same streets. Pedestrians would be required to use a crosswalk or intersection.
The measure applies to 20 streets and roads, including the city’s major streets through downtown and Fort Campbell Boulevard from downtown to the Pennyrile Parkway.
Mayor Carter Hendricks said the ordinance addresses concerns about the growing number of panhandlers in the city, some of whom stand at street corners with signs and take cash from motorists who hold money out windows at they pass by.
There was no discussion among council members before the vote. It passed 9-1. (Two council members were absent – Don Ahart, who was ill, and Terry Parker, who was attending his daughter’s soccer game.)
Jason Bell cast the only vote against the ordinance. He said after the meeting that several constituents contacted him about their opposition. Some are worried certain groups, including young black men, would be targeted by police, he said.
The ordinance would impose three fines: $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $300 for a third offense.
Street blocks included in the ordinance are:
Canton Pike 3200-4200, Canton St. 1400-3100, Country Club Lane 100-800, Cox Mill Road 2500-3500, E. Seventh St. 100-1000, E. Ninth St. 100-1800, E. 21st St. 200-400, Fort Campbell Blvd. 2100-4900, Glass Ave. 100-1500, LaFayette Road 3000-4200, McLean Ave. 100-500, North Drive 100-800, N. Main St. 100-1600, Skyline Drive 900-1200, S. Main St. 100-2400, S. Virginia St. 100-2900, Walnut St. 900-2300, W. Seventh St. 100-1100, W. Ninth St. 100-700, and W. 14th St. 100-300,
Council must approve the ordinance on second reading before it is adopted. It will be on the agenda for the next meeting on Nov. 5.
This story first appeared on the Hoptown Chronicle.