Court upholds ruling against Arkansas anti-begging law

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld a judge’s ruling against an Arkansas anti-loitering law that opponents say unfairly targets panhandlers.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a federal judge’s preliminary injunction against the 2017 law, which expands the definition of loitering to include anyone asking for charity or a gift in a harassing or threatening manner that’s likely to cause others alarm or create a traffic hazard. A federal judge in 2017 called the measure “plainly unconstitutional.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas sued the state over the ban on behalf of two panhandlers. The state had argued the measure still allowed begging in many forms.

The 2017 measure was enacted after a federal judge struck a previous begging ban in the state’s loitering law.

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