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[Adopted 4-10-1996 (Title 8, Ch. 8.28, of the 1986 Code)]
The purpose of this article is to regulate certain behavior to preserve the public order, to protect the citizens of the City of Springfield and to ensure the safe and uninterrupted passage of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, without unconstitutionally impinging upon protected speech, expression, or conduct.
For the purpose of this article, the following words, terms, and phrases shall have the following meanings:
- AGGRESSIVE MANNER
- To do any of the following:
A. Approach, speak to, or follow a person in a manner as would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon the person, or upon property in the person's immediate possession; or
B. Touch another person without that person's consent in the course of asking for alms; or
C. Continue to ask, beg, or solicit alms from a person after the person has made a negative response; or
D. Follow the person solicited before, after, or while asking, begging, or soliciting alms; or
E. Intentionally block or interfere with the safe or free passage of a person or vehicle by any means, including unreasonably causing a person or driver of a vehicle to take evasive action to avoid physical contact; or
F. Direct abusive or profane language toward the person solicited, either while asking, begging, or soliciting alms, or following a refusal by the person solicited.
- ASK, BEG OR SOLICIT ALMS
- Includes the spoken, written, or printed words or such other act conducted for the purpose of obtaining an immediate donation of money or thing of value.
- FALSE OR MISLEADING MANNER
- Includes, but is not limited to, the asking, begging, or soliciting of alms, including money and other things of value, through utilization of any of the following representations:
A. Stating or expressing that the donation is needed to meet a specific need, when the solicitor already has sufficient funds to meet that need and does not disclose that fact; or
B. Stating or expressing that the donation is needed to meet a need that does not exist; or
C. Stating that the solicitor is from out of town and stranded when that is not true; or
D. Wearing or displaying an indication of physical disability, when the solicitor does not suffer the disability indicated; or
E. Using any makeup or device to simulate deformity.
- Anyone who asks, begs, or solicits alms, including money and other things of value.
A. No person may ask, beg, or solicit alms, including money and other things of value, in an aggressive manner in any place open to the general public, including sidewalks, streets, alleys, driveways, parking lots, parks, plazas, buildings, doorways and entrances to buildings, and gasoline service stations and the grounds enclosing buildings.
B. No person may ask, beg, or solicit alms, including money and other things of value, in a false or misleading manner.
C. No person may ask, beg, or solicit alms in any public transportation vehicle or within 25 feet of any bus or train station stop.
D. No person may ask, beg, or solicit alms within 25 feet of any automatic teller machine (ATM) or bank.
E. No person may ask, beg, or solicit alms from any operator or occupant of a motor vehicle that is in traffic on a public street.
No provision of this article shall be interpreted or constructed to prohibit speech, expression, or conduct protected by the laws of the United States or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
A. Criminal disposition. Any person who violates a provision of this article is guilty of a separate offense for each day during which the violation is committed, continued, or permitted. Each offense, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine of $50.
B. Noncriminal disposition. Any person who violates any provision of this article may be penalized by a noncriminal disposition as provided for under § 1-25. The Police Department shall enforce this article. The penalty for each violation shall be $50 for each day or part of a day during which the violation is committed, continued, or permitted.