Let's examine the ordinance. (The emboldened language is the new language):
Thus, the elements of the new offense under the ordinance are:
It shall be unlawful for a pedestrian to sit, stand or move within or upon a roadway, or a median between two (2) roadways, or within the public right-of-way not exceeding fifty (50) feet from the traveled portion of any intersection controlled by an automatic traffic signal or stop sign, for the purpose of or while engaged in (by oral or written methods):
(1) Soliciting, or peddling, selling, advertising, donating or distributing any product, property, or service, including but not limited to tickets, handbills newspapers or other printed material, to or from an occupant of a vehicle in the roadway; or,
(2) Conversation or discourse with an occupant of a vehicle in the roadway.
1) Person is within 50 feet of an intersection; and
2) a) The person is soliciting, peddling, distributing , etc. OR
b) Conversing or having discourse with a person in a vehicle.
To summarize, in order to have an offense under the new language it must be 1 + 2a or 1 + 2b.
The 1+2b option allows for the ticketing of purely political political protesters. Let's say that health care protesters are downtown at a street corner. They ask motorists stopped to honk if they want health care reform. They're not soliciting money or passing out literature. But the political speech is a violation of the ordinance.
Frankly, anyone who went to law school should have quickly spotted this drafting error in the ordinance. I know of three lawyers on the Council, Ryan Vaughn, Bob Lutz, and Barb Malone, all Republicans. I can't believe they are all such bad attorneys that they missed the elementary drafting mistake in the ordinance.
Contrary to Councilor McQuillen's assurances at the committee meeting, even if the panhandling ordinance applied strictly to commercial speech, the odds of it being upheld are hardly certain. Even if it is in the end upheld as constitutional, as McQuillen says it will, the City will be out tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and expenses defending the ordinance. However, once you factor in the drafting error allowing the ordinance to be applied to political speech, the odds of it being found unconstitutional dramatically increase. If the City loses its defense of the statute, it will be not only have to pay their own attorneys but also the prevailing side's legal expenses.
Most likely, City Legal will farm out the legal work defending the ordinance to Barnes & Thornburg, which will hand the City a sizable six figure legal bill defending the inevitable lawsuit. In the end, the effect of the ordinance will be that politically-connected lawyers make hundreds of thousands of dollars defending the ordinance while the effect the ordinance has on panhandling is minimal at best.