March 17, 2011

Montgomery County will not regulate panhandling this year

An attempt to restrict panhandling in Montgomery County has failed, but at least one council member says he will fight to regulate the practice next year. State Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Dist. 14) of Burtonsville withdrew a state bill Friday that would have allowed the council to approve a permitting system for roadside solicitation — begging, raising money for charity or selling goods at county intersections.

At issue was a controversial amendment in the works that also would have allowed the council to approve an outright ban on the practice. Kaiser said she withdrew the bill because she felt the issue needed further discussion. She said she wanted to strengthen the permitting system proposed in her own bill and that she also had heard from supporters of the ban option. However, Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg said the bill was withdrawn because state lawmakers who opposed the option to ban roadside solicitation weren't sure they had enough votes to defeat the would-be amendment.

"That's the only explanation that makes any sense," said Andrews, chairman of the council's Public Safety committee. SOURCE: Gazette

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