February 27, 2015
DENVER – The Fort Collins City Council voted this afternoon to repeal provisions of an anti-panhandling ordinance that is currently being challenged as unconstitutional by an ACLU of Colorado class action lawsuit.
ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein issued the following statement:
“The City of Fort Collins has taken a positive and welcome first step by repealing the provisions of its panhandling ordinance that have been challenged by the ACLU and our clients, who engage in nonthreatening, nonaggressive requests for charity that are fully protected by the First Amendment. We hope that today’s repeal means that they and all other peaceful solicitors will no longer be targeted by Fort Collins police. Fort Collins can still rely on the provisions of the ordinance that we did not challenge to address truly aggressive solicitation without stifling free speech rights.
“If Fort Collins would agree to make today’s repeal permanent, we could be well on our way to resolving this litigation and putting it behind us. Fort Collins, however, has described today’s repeal as a temporary measure and has signaled that the repealed provisions may well be reenacted. The repealed provisions violate the First Amendment, and their repeal should be permanent, not temporary.”