Hawaii County sued over panhandling law

Hawaii County sued over panhandling law

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union and a homeless Big Island man are suing Hawaii County, claiming its panhandling laws are unconstitutional.

West Hawaii Today reports the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Justin Guy says he was cited for soliciting in Kailua-Kona. He says police officers approached him as he held a "Homeless Please Help," sign and is now afraid to sit with his sign in a public area.

The citation was dropped.

ACLU of Hawaii attorney Daniel Gluck says solicitation is a kind of speech and the First Amendment protects it.

Corporation Counsel Molly Stebbins says the county law prohibiting aggressive solicitation strikes a proper balance between the First Amendment and public safety concerns.

A temporary restraining order request is scheduled to be heard Sept. 19.

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