Rio Rancho repeals ordinance making panhandling illegal

New Mexico
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The city of Rio Rancho has repealed its ordinance that makes panhandling illegal.

During last week’s governing body meeting, councilors and the mayor unanimously voted to repeal the statute.

This comes after the ACLU sent letters to 10 New Mexico cities urging them to repeal or amend their ordinances that make panhandling a crime, claiming the laws are unconstitutional.

“This was an ordinance that made the city a target for litigation by civil rights groups, arguing and successfully so in state and federal courts that this is a protected form of speech,” said Rio Rancho city attorney Greg Lauer.

Elephant Butte has also repealed its ordinance.

Meanwhile, both Santa Fe and Albuquerque are still just not enforcing their panhandling ordinances waiting for the outcome of the lawsuit between the ACLU and the city of Albuquerque.

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