Proposed ordinance would fine people for panhandling and hitchhiking

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 19:23:15-04

TULSA -- A proposed ordinance is making it harder for people to fundraise in the city of Tulsa.

The ordinance details that no one can step or stand in the road or on a median or extend a body part into the roadway to solicit a ride, donation, employment or business from someone in a vehicle. If someone is caught violating the ordinance, they would be fined $150.

District Five City Councilor Karen Gilbert said the proposed ordinance is centered around safety. Pairing the increasing number of distracted drivers with pedestrians walking in the streets can lead to people getting hit or cars running into each other.

The new ordinance would present a problem for organized groups asking for donations, like youth sports teams and the firefighters Fill the Boot campaign.

“We can’t ban panhandling, but what we can do is make sure it is done in a safe way,” Gilbert said.

“We are still working with the council to come up with some creative solutions to the problem,” Deputy Chief Scott Clark with the Tulsa Fire Department said. “Obviously, we would like to be the conduit to collect the citizens donations to MDA.”

Clark said he can see where the city is coming from and why they are trying to pass the ordinance.

The City Council said they will work with the firefighters to come up with a creative solution to keep their fundraiser going.

“Follow what the Salvation does with the Red Kettle campaign,” Gilbert said. “I know that there are plenty of businesses out there that would love to have firefighters hanging out with them.”

The ordinance was brought up at Wednesday night’s city council meeting. It will be voted on next week.

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