Worcester's panhandling plan moves toward vote
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) -- A plan by Worcester's city manager to curb aggressive panhandling is moving toward a City Council vote.
The plan would prohibit people from soliciting money from motorists while standing in the street. It also would ban people from soliciting money while walking in and out of traffic or standing on a traffic island.
The Telegram & Gazette reports that two City Council subcommittees have endorsed City Manager Michael O'Brien's plan, which will go before the entire City Council later this month.
Opponents say it infringes on free speech rights and doesn't address panhandlers' root problems including struggles with mental health, substance abuse and poverty.
But advocates say panhandlers hurt businesses and the city's image. And they say people can still panhandle, just not while standing in a public way.