LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Panhandling restrictions in Louisville could soon be eliminated.

The Metro Council Public Safety Committee recommended repealing an ordinance Wednesday night that bans panhandling. Council members cited a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling which struck down a similar law in Lexington. In 2017, the court said it violated the first amendment right to free speech.

Metro Councilman Bill Hollander said the ruling means Louisville needs to change its law to comply.

“What we tried to say was it’s not OK to stand by the road and say, 'Please give me money,'" Hollander said. "And yet we didn’t say it’s not okay to stand by the road with some other kind of message and the Supreme Court has said that’s unconstitutional."

Councilwoman Angela Leet said it is important that whatever is decided protects citizens from harassment. 

“We have to balance protection of citizens who are being solicited," Leet said. "In particular, when they’re in a vulnerable spot, whether they’re at the ATM or whether they’re walking to a car with their hands full."

Roy Snawder, who has panhandled before, said the solution might be to look at how other cities are keeping people safe and still protecting the homeless. 

"They have to have a permit to panhandle, and I think that may be a good choice," Snawder said.

The repeal now heads to entire council for a final vote.

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