Statement on Court's Rejection of Sacramento Anti-Panhandling Ordinance

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SACRAMENTO — Today, a federal judge blocked the City of Sacramento's anti-panhandling ordinance. The ACLU Foundation of Northern California and the Legal Services of Northern California issued the following response:

Today’s ruling is a resounding victory for free speech and fairness, and is the first in California to make clear that the government can’t arbitrarily enact anti-panhandling ordinances. On every point, the judge reaffirmed that free speech applies to everyone. Instead of criminalizing people who ask for help, the City of Sacramento should act with compassion and allocate resources to those who need them most.

Abre’ Conner, ACLU Foundation of Northern California
This preliminary injunction will allow vulnerable community members to ask for help without fear that they will be harassed, cited, or arrested. The judge's ruling should signal to cities that have, or are considering, similar ordinances that they cannot trample on the rights of those experiencing homelessness. It's a reminder that the Constitution applies to everyone, not just people with money or power. We hope Sacramento will go back to the drawing board to come up with effective solutions for our community.

Elise Stokes, Legal Services of Northern California

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