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Indianapolis Could Postpone Panhandling Restrictions Again

A street musician plays a percussion instrument in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis‘ effort to clamp down on panhandling could be put on hold again at tonight’s city council meeting.

The city council already tabled the proposal earlier this year.

City County Councilman Jeff Miller says he wants to do so again because the language in the proposal does not clearly distinguish between panhandlers and artists or street performers.

“As soon as they verbally speak and say ‘I’d like a donation,’ then honestly whether they’re playing a guitar or whether they’re shaking a cup, that’s considered panhandling under state law,” Miller says. “What we’re looking at is passive solicitation.”

Miller‘s district includes the Fountain Square area and says he‘ll ask the council tonight to send the plan back to committee for review.

He says after meeting with the arts council on the issue, one new plan could include creating special “cultural zones” in places like Monument Circle or Fountain Square where artists could perform for donations.

Miller says another plan might allow artists to perform in public areas, but they would receive stipends from some source which would potentially resolve the solicitation issue.

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