Madison city council members have delayed a vote on a proposed ordinance that would restrict panhandling on streets and medians located around Madison. “As we know from coast-to-coast, not only have we seen people in the medians collecting money hit and in some instances killed, but addition causing accidents that may not involve them,” said Mayor Paul Soglin.
The proposal would apply to the public right of way on a list of 85 streets or highways and the right of way for 200 feet on their cross streets if they have medians.
Some alders said they would vote for the ordinance, but there was too much that needed to be done to change some of the language. Soglin defended his proposal, saying the ordinance would only increase public safety.
“Is there a person in this room, who about the time they were five years old weren’t taught, you don’t play in the streets,” he asked. “I don’t think that’s an alien concept.”
Soglin noted that the ordinance in no way is targeting the homeless. Instead, it’s ensuring the safety of every person who has been out asking for money or donations on busy streets. If passed, any person who is caught could face a fine between $25 and $300.
“As we know from coast-to-coast, not only have we seen people in the medians collecting money hit and in some instances killed, but addition causing accidents that may not involve them,” said Soglin.
Several alders are now asking for an education period be added to the law. They say it would help get the word out and would include a warning before an written citation.
On Tuesday council members decided to push the vote back to February 7th council meeting.