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The week that was

October 14, 2012
Minot Daily News

BEGGING RESTRICTIONS Bismarck became the latest North Dakota city to limit panhandling within the city after residents complained of being intimidated or threatened by panhandlers. Bismarck's new ordinance bans begging in a wide variety of locations, including downtown, near ATMs, on school playgrounds, in parks, within 20 feet of a street or bus stop, in crosswalks, near public restrooms or on street medians. Fines range from $50 to $500. We're not sure where panhandlers are allowed to ask for money, given the restrictions, but we certainly understand the city's concern. Bismarck officials said panhandling is a constitutionally permitted activity, but they wanted to establish rules to provide some safety for residents. In cities like Minot, Dickinson and Williston, where populations have skyrocketed in recent years, there's bound to be a corresponding rise in the number of panhandlers. We wonder when more cities in western North Dakota, including Minot, will consider such ordinances.



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