Bill that outlaws panhandling and loitering on state roads now on Governor’s desk

New bill will outlaw panhandling on state roads, highways
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 9:14 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A bill now sits on the governor’s desk that will outlaw panhandling and loitering on state highways and roads.

As news began to spread that the bill passed through the house, many feared that this bill targeted homeless people. Several supporters stress they hope more legislation is passed to help our neighbors in need.

“They do need our help. There is much mental illness on the street and substance abuse and no one is immune. These are not people that have come from another neighborhood, or another part of our state, they are our neighbors,” said Jimmie Hale Mission Executive Director Perryn Carroll.

Bill sponsor Reed Ingram stressing the bill was not designed to hurt the homeless community, but to keep drivers and walkers safe.

“The reason I brought the bill is because of public safety. In 2021 we had over 800 people get killed on state highways. That is just either crossing the road or being in the road due to mental health or drugs, whatever the case may be,” said House Representative and bill sponsor Reed Ingram.

If passed, those who loiter or panhandle on or near state roadways could be found guilty of a class c misdemeanor. Subsequent arrests could mean fines or even months in jail­­. However, Representative Ingram stresses that the bill makes it clear that law enforcement may provide a warning, and even transport them to get additional aid if need be.

“It has a part of this bill where an officer can take them to nearest shelter. Whether it be a mental health or homeless shelter. The officer has the authority to give them a ride to get them some help,” said Representative Ingram.

Again this bill would only outlaw panhandling and loitering on or near state roadways this would not impact businesses or people in cities.

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