City council members unanimously approved a plan to get tougher with aggressive panhandlers.
Council voted 14-0 in favor of the measure.
The vote comes after Mayor Kasim Reed vetoed another measure council that approved last week.
Under the new ordinance, panhandlers would be forbidden from soliciting people for money within 15 feet of a building entrance or exit and repeatedly harassing a person after being rejected. Anyone caught aggressively panhandling would go to jail for 30 days after the second offense, 90 days after the third conviction.
The new ordinance is a compromise between a measure proposed by Councilman Michael Julian Bond and Mayor Kasim Reed.
Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms said the measure closes up the loopholes that dotted the earlier proposal.
"It addresses the concerns the public has about public safety and also allows us to take a compassionate approach to panhandling," bottoms said. "This not only allows us to enforce panhandling ordinance. It also increases the penalties."
Councilman Kwanza Hall, who is backing an anti-loitering measure he hopes complement the panhandling ordinance, is glad council and the mayor agree on the new measure to crack down on pushy panhandlers.
"If we address aggressive panhandling, we're going in the right direction," Hall said. "I do think it is good the administration and council are working in a collaborative fashion."
The ordinance goes to Mayor Reed for approval. A spokesman said the mayor will sign the plan.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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