Indianapolis mayor to propose panhandling ban

Indianapolis' mayor wants to ban panhandling in the city's busiest downtown area following long-running complaints from convention officials and city boosters about people begging for money along downtown streets.

The Indianapolis Star reports Mayor Greg Ballard plans to propose the restrictions during his Friday state of the city address. He wants the City-County Council to create a "No Solicitation Zone" spanning a mile-square area of downtown's busiest areas.

Ballard's proposal would ban oral requests for money in the heart of downtown and passive solicitations across much of the city. Such solicitations are allowed under current city ordinance.

Legal director Ken Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana says Ballard's proposals would violate panhandlers' First Amendment rights, and the ACLU would be prepared to challenge the restrictions.