Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have banned “aggressive” panhandling, saying it is unclear what statewide problem the legislation was meant to address and that the issue is best left to local government.
HB2024 would have made it a class 1 misdemeanor for people to panhandle within 15 feet of a bank entrance or automatic teller machine, within 10 feet of a bus stop or on a public transportation vehicle. The bill also would have made it illegal to for a panhandler to make physical contact with people or intimidate them while attempting to solicit from them.
“It is unclear what statewide concern this legislation intends to address. Accordingly, political subdivisions are in a better position to address the issue as it applies to their local community,” Brewer wrote in her veto letter.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, introduced the bill in response to a federal court ruling that struck down Arizona’s anti-panhandling statute as unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a woman who was arrested in Flagstaff for violating a provision in the state’s anti-loitering law that prohibits people from loitering in public places for the purposes of begging.
The bill would have also scrapped the provision of the anti-loitering that was struck down by the U.S. District Court.