Religious group representatives such as Hare Krishnas and other solicitors are now banned from seeking donations at Los Angeles International Airport.

A decision by the United States Court of Appeals July 7 has lifted a preliminary injunction imposed in 1997, allowing Los Angeles Airport Police to enforce a Los Angeles City ordinance prohibiting solicitation and the receipt of funds in the terminals, parking areas, and adjacent sidewalks at the airport.

“This is a huge step forward in ensuring the comfort and safety of the traveling public at LAX,” said Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey. “From now on the traveling public will not have to worry about solicitors asking for money.”

The Los Angeles City Council approved the solicitation ban at the airport April 1, 1997, but a lawsuit by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California halted the law’s enforcement for more than a decade.

After the California Supreme Court upheld the city’s ordinance on March 25 and following the subsequent appellate court ruling, groups such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California will be prohibited from soliciting and receiving funds in the terminals, parking areas, and adjacent sidewalks at LAX.

Under the ordinance, organizations still can distribute literature and speak to willing travelers, as well as seek financial support as long as they not request the immediate exchange of funds.

Anuttama Dasa, a governing body commissioner for the Society for Krishna Consciousness, said on the organization’s Web site that the group is disappointed with the court decision because it “limits our ability to contact people and share our faith and spiritual literature.”

Los Angeles Airport Police Chief George Centeno said the recent lifting of the court injunction means “airport police law enforcement can enforce our city’s laws.”

“This ruling allows us to exercise a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to solicitors asking for immediate donations at LAX,” the chief said.

Violators face a penalty of up to six months in jail or a fine of $1,000, if convicted.

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