Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
A federal judge has ruled that an Albuquerque ordinance severely restricting panhandling is unconstitutional, a decision the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is hailing as a “significant victory.”
Judge Robert Brack of U.S. District Court in Albuquerque on Thursday issued a 37-page opinion in the ACLU’s 2018 lawsuit against the city. Brack wrote that most of the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance, passed in 2017 and amended last month, is “an unconstitutional restriction on free speech because it is not narrowly tailored to meet the City’s interest in reducing pedestrian-vehicle conflicts.”
The ordinance, sponsored by City Councilor Trudy Jones, bars anyone from standing inside travel lanes, along interstate entrance and exit ramps and on certain medians. It also prohibits “any physical interaction or exchange” between pedestrians and occupants of vehicles in traffic lanes.