Begging for Change: Begging Restrictions Throughout Washington

Jocelyn Tillisch & Drew Sena, Seattle University Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, Begging for Change: Begging Restrictions Throughout Washington (Justin Olson & Sara Rankin Eds., 2018)

105 Pages Posted: 4 May 2018

See all articles by Sara Rankin

Sara Rankin

Seattle University School of Law

Jocelyn Tillisch

Homeless Rights Advocacy Project

Drew Sena

Seattle University School of Law

Justin Olson

Seattlle University, School of Law, Students

Date Written: May 3, 2018

Abstract

The act of panhandling, commonly known as begging, is a form of speech protected by the United States Constitution. But Washington’s cities are increasingly enacting laws that criminalize begging, despite courts finding these laws unconstitutional under both the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause. This brief surveys begging restrictions, assessing their scope and legality. This report offers the first statewide analysis of laws that restrict begging.

Among the brief's key findings is that the vast majority (86%) of Washington cities criminalize begging; the majority (83%) of these laws result in a criminal charge if violated, leading to serious collateral consequences that impact one’s eligibility for housing and employment. Many of these laws would not survive constitutional scrutiny.

Keywords: begging, panhandling, homeless, First Amendment, free speech, Reed, constitutional law, Due Process

Suggested Citation

Rankin, Sara and Tillisch, Jocelyn and Sena, Drew and Olson, Justin, Begging for Change: Begging Restrictions Throughout Washington (May 3, 2018). Jocelyn Tillisch & Drew Sena, Seattle University Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, Begging for Change: Begging Restrictions Throughout Washington (Justin Olson & Sara Rankin Eds., 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3173191 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3173191

Sara Rankin (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Jocelyn Tillisch

Homeless Rights Advocacy Project ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Drew Sena

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Justin Olson

Seattlle University, School of Law, Students ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122-1090
United States

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