Unlawful for Gig Harbor drivers to stop for panhandlers

GIG HARBOR, Wash. (AP) — Drivers who stop to give money to people in Gig Harbor could be charged with a misdemeanor starting in December.

The News Tribune reports the Gig Harbor City Council passed an ordinance Monday making it unlawful for drivers to interact with pedestrians or exchange money or goods on certain roadways.

Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey says the goal is to lower the number of vehicle collisions happening when drivers stop to give panhandlers money or other items.

Anyone found guilty of violating the ordinance could be charged with a misdemeanor, held in jail for up to 90 days or fined $1,000.

Tacoma Rescue Mission spokesman Noah Baskett says it could potentially have an effect on those holding signs asking for food or cash.

The city previously passed an anti-panhandling ordinance but officials stopped enforcing it after similar measures were determined to be unconstitutional.