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Portland's Panhandling Law Faces Legal Challenge
09/25/2013 10:30 AM ET  

Three people have filed a legal challenge to Portland's ordinance that bars panhandling on traffic islands, saying it violates their constitutional free speech rights.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The law that took effect in August bars anyone from standing on median strips, but homeless advocates say it's aimed at panhandlers. City officials said it was a public safety issue.

The defendants suing the city filed a motion in federal court Tuesday that seeks to prevent enforcement of the ordinance. Two defendants are described as political activists who stand on traffic islands holding political signs. The third defendant is described as homeless.

Mayor Michael Brennan told the Portland Press Herald he does not think anyone has been cited for violating the ordinance. He said police are focused on educating the public and fostering voluntary compliance.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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