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Tribal Council approves anti-panhandling law

Tribal Council approves anti-panhandling law

In a unanimous vote Monday, Oct. 17, the Cherokee Tribal Council passed an ordinance that prohibits begging and panhandling in a variety of locations and situations on the Qualla Boundary.

“In the last several years, an increasing number of tribal citizens have been approached or accosted, sometimes aggressively, by persons who are begging, panhandling or soliciting financial contributions in a public place in a manner that threatens the safety and security of the citizens or of the person doing the begging, panhandling or soliciting,” reads the resolution, submitted by Painttown Rep. Dike. Sneed. 

The ordinance bans public begging, panhandling and soliciting contributions within 20 feet of the entrance or exit of a bank, financial institution or ATM; in tribally owned or operated public transportation vehicles or stop locations, or within 20 feet of tribal transit stop locations, stop signs, stop shelters or stop benches; while standing on a road or the shoulder or median of a road; or on property without written permission from the possessory holder, lessor or permittee. 

It also prohibits doing so “in a manner so as to intimidate another person or by accosting another person, or by forcing oneself upon the company of another person.” Under the new law, begging, panhandling and soliciting contributions are not allowed by verbal or written request between sunset and sunrise. The ordinance contains exemptions for properly permitted live music performances and chiefing. 

Violating the new rules qualifies as a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $50 or maximum sentence of five days. Principal Chief Richard Sneed has signed the ordinance. 

Tribal Council’s action follows an Oct. 13 decision from the Sylva Board of Commissioners to schedule a public hearing to consider a panhandling ban of its own. That proposed ordinance would outlaw such activity within 100 feet of road intersections and banks, within 15 feet of any road’s pavement edge, within 20 feet of any open commercial business, or when the person being solicited is standing in line for a commercial business. The ordinance would also outlaw various forms of threatening behavior while begging. A public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10. 

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1 comment

  • Ah, the "don't feed a stray dog" approach to poverty.
    Also, I adore that "chiefing" is a verb.

    posted by Ignatius Nations

    Monday, 11/07/2022

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