The proposed ordinance in the city of Akron to ban panhandling within 100 feet of traffic intersections is causing debate among residents.
The debate stems over the difference between the legal definitions of free speech and panhandling.
University of Akron law professor J. Dean Carro says that controversy of the issue begins with two major competing interests of the city including their concern for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens and protecting each citizens constitutional right.
Panhandling has been considered to be free speech which means it would be protected under the first amendment according to Carro.
Carro explains panhandling as someone who is asking for others to contribute to their well being.
"In Akron, as in many cities, if you're simply standing on the side walk that's not panhandling. If you have a sign and you are just standing there. On the other hand, if you're asking people for money, that's panhandling and you have to be registered," says Carro.
He explains that most citizens that you see with signs are not considered as panhandlers.
"Many of the people that you see or we see are just standing there with that little sign. Technically they're not panhandlers, so they probably don't register," says Carro.
Carro says there are three aspects surrounding the proposed ordinance including what is defined as speech, what is considered as a public place and is the regulation neutral.