Georgia Journalism and Access Project Attorney Samantha C. Hamilton was interviewed  by The Augusta Chronicle about Columbia County, Georgia’s unconstitutional “panhandling” ordinance. The article titled “When can local governments restrict asking for money in public? Rarely, says lawyer” was written by Abraham Kenmore and published 9/28/23.

The Clinic, in partnership with the National Homelessness Law Center, sent a letter to the Columbia County Commissioners urging repeal of the ordinance. The letter explains that the county law, which targets speech requesting charity, is a content-based regulation that is not narrowly tailored to serving a compelling government interest.

Since 2015, dozens of “panhandling” laws around the country with features similar to Columbia County’s ordinance have been struck down by courts or else voluntarily repealed.

Letter challenging Columbia County ordinance

An image of two protesters holding up signs. The man on the right holds a sign that says "Justice 4 All". The woman on the left weras a face mask and her sign says "I want to be heard".

The Issue

Free Speech

The First Amendment protects the right of private individuals to engage in speech and expression without being censored or punished by the government because of their viewpoint. While the government may constitutionally regulate the time, place, and manner of private speech in public forums it must do so in a viewpoint-neutral manner and, depending on…

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