OMAHA, Neb. – Today the Omaha City Council voted unanimously to remove unconstitutional provisions from the city panhandling ordinance. This decisions comes following three years of negotiations from the ACLU on behalf of organizations and advocates for those experiencing homelessness. The ACLU had previously warned city officials that if the ordinance was not repealed or amended, they could face litigation.
Statement from ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director, Danielle Conrad
The ACLU of Nebraska is pleased that the City of Omaha has amended city ordinances to comport with the First Amendment and to ensure the right of free speech extends to all Nebraskans-including those experiencing homelessness and who have been jailed simply for asking for help. The ACLU has been conducting legal advocacy on this issue for over three years and is pleased this sad chapter is finally closed. While we will monitor the implementation of the new panhandling ordinance, we are pleased that by working cooperatively with the Omaha City Council we have been able to resolve the issue without costly civil rights litigation.
Images of signs people held when ticketed under the former panhandling ordinance: