Lafayette Councils Vote to Defer Loitering Ordinance
Sitting or standing along a public street. Is that a crime worthy of a misdemeanor punishment in Lafayette? According to the Lafayette City and Parish Councils, it shouldn't be, at least right now. Those councils voted last night to defer an ordinance that would have banned the action of sitting or standing on a public street within 36 inches of the street or median.
The ordinance drew the attention of the ACLU and the Radio and Television Digital News Association. Both of those groups had called on council members to defeat the proposal because they felt the ordinance severely curtailed the freedoms of speech and the press.
Based on comments from members of the Lafayette City and Parish Councils as reported by KATC there were other concerns that council members had. One of the most glaring concerns was voiced by District 1 Councilman Pat Lewis who told TV 3,
The deferment is about certain people...I don't think I have to say that many times 'certain people' - homeless people. People they don't want to see around the area. Nothing more than that.
Liz-Webb Hebert, District 3 Council Member, suggested that Mayor-President Josh Guillory take an active role in modifying the ordinance. One of Webb Hebert's concerns was over what happens to an individual who is found to be in violation of the ordinance. She called for a meeting with the Mayor-President to discuss these and other concerns.
Meanwhile, after last night's vote, the ordinance has been deferred indefinitely. There has been no word as to whether the ordinance will be revised and reintroduced.