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Tulsa homeless say panhandling fine increase will target the community's most needy

by: Rick Maranon Updated:

© 2017 Cox Media Group.

TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:

  • Tulsa city councilors are expected to vote on a proposal raising the panhandling fine from $50 to $150.
  • Area homeless say they can't afford to pay those fines.
  • Panhandlers said they would rather go to jail than fork over that kind of cash.

 

Area homeless are concerned that a fee increase for panhandling will target Tulsa’s most needy.

In their final meeting before power changes hands at city hall next week, Tulsa city councilors are set to vote on a proposal to raise the fine for a panhandling ticket from $50 to $150, and there is an emergency clause attached to it, meaning it will take effect immediately upon receiving mayoral approval.

FOX23 spoke with panhandlers in downtown and midtown Tuesday evening, and some of them said they’ve only taken to the street recently after losing their jobs and being unable to find employment.

When asked if they could afford the fine, many said they would appear before a judge and plead their case, and they would rather spend a night in jail instead of forking over any cash.

Area homeless told FOX23 that city leaders can raise the fine all they want, but that doesn’t mean those living on the streets will be able to afford a ticket, let alone pay it later.

FOX23 will be following this ordinance and other developments in the final meeting of the current city council Wednesday.

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