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Atlanta mayor signs panhandling ban

[JURIST] Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin [official bio] has signed legislation banning verbal panhandling in popular downtown tourist destinations, including the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site [official website]. The ordinance [PDF draft text] bans "commercial solicitation" and all verbal requests for money or other valuables in a public place "under circumstances where a reasonable person would understand that the purchase is a donation." The ordinance, which is effective immediately, was passed by Atlanta's city council [official website] on August 15 and has sparked heated debate between business people and homeless advocates. Tuesday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution has local coverage.

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