Yakima City Legal Department makes panhandling recommendations to - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima City Legal Department makes panhandling recommendations to council

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Tuesday night the Yakima City legal department presented council with a list of possible solutions and legal recommendations for the growing problem of panhandling. 

You may have seen panhandlers at Yakima's busy intersections, Nob Hill and First Street or others. Panhandling is actually a protected First Amendment right. That said, there are ways to regulate it and city legal presented some of those ideas for council to consider.

Yakima's downtown ambassadors are also on board to combat aggressive panhandling.

"If they see aggressive panhandling occurring they do make themselves known, they let the panhandlers know that they see what they're doing and that they're calling the police," said Cynthia Martinez, attorney, City of Yakima Legal Department.

Before moving forward with ordinances council needs panhandling stats from police or public testimonial. Council opted to hold a public hearing, city legal said testimony will strengthen a case for panhandling regulation. The hearing date has not been set.

Another solution mentioned, people should try to give donations to reputable charities, which help the homeless or unemployed.