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Council exploring ordinance to update city’s criminal code
Sumner City Council members are exploring an ordinance which would classify the practice of aggressively asking for money as a form of disorderly conduct.
Testimony provided to the Pierce County Council, Tacoma City Council and the Puyallup City Council against aggressive solicitation led to findings incorporated by Sumner in the text for its ordinance.
Some of the findings note that automatic teller machines are protected from solicitation because users are likely to have cash in their possession; public phones are often isolated from crowds where people are distracted from their surroundings; people entering and leaving buildings are considered a captive audience because there are limited ways to enter and exit; and drivers of motor vehicles approached by people requesting money may become distracted or linger at intersections.
If the ordinance passes, people cited would be charged with a misdemeanor and could be punished with a fine up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.
If someone is convicted of asking for money by using coercion, which includes, but is not limited to, blocking someone from passing by, threatening bodily harm directly or indirectly, and persisting in solicitation after they were denied could be punished upon conviction with a fine up to $5,000 or with a sentence of up to one year in prison, or both.
The ordinance was scheduled for review at Monday’s council meeting.
Reach Chaz Holmes at 360-802-8208 or email@example.com.