MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian City Council voted on repealing one city ordinance and agreed to amend another one. The begging ordinance is being removed. This comes after the American Civil Liberties Union demanded it be repealed or else the city could face the possibility of lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.
The council also approved changes to an ordinance involving the obstruction of city streets and sidewalks to be amended.
“It’s really for the safety of the community, so we’ll see how it turns out,” says Ward 2 councilman Tyrone Johnson. “Hopefully it works out in everyone’s favor.”
The ordinance to be amended says that it is unlawful for activities such as basketball to obstruct the free use of roads or other public spaces.
“My concern today was moving forward with amending that, I don’t like the term that we are always trying to penalize some of our citizens for things that we can just warn them about and move on to the next situation,” Johnson says.
Councilman Johnson is concerned about the fines for breaking the ordinance and hopes to see it changed.
“If it’s a safety issue I think that the police could just address it and say, ‘hey, could you move the goal down’ or something like that, but I don’t think no one should get a fine for it,” Johnson says. “And again, that’ll create more burden on maybe those families that have kids that play in those streets.”
Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose says that the city police haven't been enforcing the begging ordinance as it was written because the state wiped it off their books years ago.