NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Whether you're driving in downtown Springfield or Northampton, you see people holding signs or playing music, asking for money.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says it is unconstitutional for a city to tell those panhandlers where they can be and when.
Two new Worcester ordinances target aggressive panhandling, but the ACLU of Massachusetts has sued the City , claiming those laws are unconstitutional.
One of those laws prohibits people from holding signs, playing music or asking for donations in any other capacity starting 30 minutes before sunset or any time within 20 feet of a bus stop, theater, or an ATM machine.
The second ordinance bans panhandling on traffic islands.
Attorney Kevin Martin, who is handling this ACLU case, told 22News these ordinances violate people's rights to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. "If you want to really go after behavior that is criminal, there are existing laws that allow you to do that. For example, bans on disorderly conduct or assault, which would cover that kind of situation."
In western Massachusetts 22News found people in Northampton fairly tolerant of seeing and dealing with the panhandlers on Main Street.
Steve Hutton of West Springfield said, "I mean it's part of the world. I think everyone has to be exposed to it. It's just the reality of the world we live in nowadays."
David Kellogg of Northampton told 22News, "I also think it's a progressive area so the panhandlers who are here, the musicians who are out here, they are friendly. They are not bothering people."
Worcester's ordinances apply to political campaigns as well.