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Panhandling? You need a permit for that!

Dr. Colleen Morgan (CC)

Dr. Colleen Morgan (CC)

Down on your luck? Need some cash? Considering hitting the streets to beg? Well, after you’ve donned an appropriate outfit – ripped, soiled, and smelling like it hasn’t been washed in months – you’d better make sure to drop by city hall to get a free permit to panhandle. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID, because you’ll need that, too!

No, this isn’t a joke. Middle Township in New Jersey is going to require paperwork for “aggressive panhandlers.” Now, if you’re not planning on being aggressive, apparently you can still panhandle on the streets, without fear of being picked up by the police, or getting fined. It’s up to the police to determine exactly which is “aggressive” and “non-aggressive” in this situation.

Needless to say, this new law is at least a little confusing to residents – probably to panhandlers as well. If a panhandler is being too aggressive, it would be assumed that would at least merit a charge of disorderly conduct, if not some form of assault. That means the police already have the ability to put a stop to “aggressive panhandling” on the streets, and didn’t really need a new law, or the attached permit paperwork to accomplish ensuring the safety of the public-at-large. But this is New Jersey – bastion of liberal politicking, and over-regulation, right?

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