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City repeals begging ban following court ruling

VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) Officials in Virginia’s largest city have repealed a ban on panhandling in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The Virginia Beach City Council repealed the law last week, The Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday. City attorneys cited a Supreme Court ruling that considers restrictions on begging an infringement on free speech.

The high court handed down its ruling in 2015. Cities across the country have made similar repeals.

The new rules will immediately impact the homeless or anyone who is panhandling in the coastal city. It applies to public streets and beaches.

Kathy Hieatt, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said no one is currently being held in jail on begging charges.

Rod Ingram, an attorney for the city, said the city code was unlikely to survive a First Amendment challenge.

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