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  • Begging citations issued in Norman since 2012

    Begging citations issued in Norman since 2012

    According to documents released following an Open Records Act request by Norman Leaks, the City of Norman has issued 25 citations for begging since January 2012.

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    Article IV. Sec. 15-401, Ord. No. 0-7273-56 of the Norman city code prohibits begging as an offense against morality.

    An article published July 2 by the Daily Oklahoman reported that the ACLU’s lawsuit against Oklahoma City over its panhandling ordinance will go before federal court in September. Oklahoma City currently imposes a $100 fine for panhandling.

    Depending on the outcome of the trial, the City of Norman may need to amend its own anti-panhandling ordinance, or face similar litigation from the ACLU, other groups, or homeless citizens. Critics of anti-panhandling laws say such ordinances contribute to the criminalization of homelessness and add to the prison population.

    Other cities are having their day in court as well. Today, a federal judge in California overturned the City of Sacramento’s anti-begging laws which “prevented panhandling within 30 feet of business driveways, banks, ATMs, and bus and train stops” and other commercial establishments.

    Ward 4–with its concentration of social service agencies, parks, and other public amenities–has the highest homeless population in the city. Norman Leaks reached out to local attorney and Ward 4 council member Bill Hickman for comment regarding the future of the City of Norman’s own anti-begging ordinance. Hickman has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

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