By Eric Heinz

City Council unanimously approved an amendment to its panhandling and solicitation ordinance to include language that covers “aggressive” tactics of solicitation for money on public property.

Council passed an ordinance late last year that allows private property owners to call authorities if someone is soliciting on their land or shared areas and they want them removed, but they stopped short of including public spaces to avoid any laws that would not be compliant with state or federal regulations.

That changed somewhat at the meeting on Tuesday, June 20, when the City Council voted to amend the ordinance to allow people to alert police if they are being cornered, touched or grabbed or verbally abused in public spaces or public amenities, such as the Summer Trolley Program.

Council also directed staff to look at ways to make the new law easier to enforce.

Also at the meeting, Council approved a contract service amendment to legal services for Silver & Wright LLP, and during the ordinance amendment discussion, Council members said the law firm could assist in helping the city strengthen the law.

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