Mineola passes law banning excessive panhandling

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MINEOLA -

The village of Mineola has passed a law banning excessive panhandling.

The village passed the law Wednesday night in an effort to limit the number of times panhandlers ask others for money. Now, a panhandler cannot ask people more than once; otherwise there will be a fine.

Village trustees say a majority of the panhandling happens at the Mineola train station. Some commuters who spoke with News 12 question whether the new law will be effective.

"Hard to enforce. It's a 'he said she said' moment," says Nick Amato, of Albertson.

The new law states there will be a $1,000 fine the first time a panhandler asks someone for money more than once. There's a $3,000 fine for the second violation and $5,000 for more offenses. Violators could also spend up to 15 days in jail each time they break the law.

"I don't think it's going to work because how are they going to pay the fine if they're asking for money," asks Carlos Leiva, of Uniondale.

A village trustee member says the Mineola station is one of the busiest on the Long Island Rail Road and that there's no need to subject riders to aggressive panhandling.

Some commuters say they haven't had a problem with people pestering them for money, while others say it happens too much.

Village trustees declined to speak with News 12 on camera but said over the phone that the new panhandling law passed unanimously and will take effect immediately.

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