Patchogue Village bans 'aggressive panhandling'
Patchogue Village officials passed a local law Tuesday banning "aggressive panhandling."
Village Mayor Paul Pontieri says aggressive panhandling includes any physical contact, following a person to the point they fear bodily harm, blocking someone from walking, approaching an operating vehicle or attempting to solicit after a person has already said "no."
The law is now in effect. Pontieri says the issue has become worse over the last eight months.
"I want people to say 'I went to Patchogue and had a great experience,'" said the mayor. "Not 'I went to Patchogue for a great show and had five guys follow me down the street for five bucks.'"
Village Attorney Brian Egan says it's written in the law that soliciting anyone within 20 feet of an ATM or a parking meter is prohibited.
Non-aggressive panhandling is protected under the First Amendment. News 12 Long Island reached out to the New York Civil Liberties Union but has not yet heard back.