Hare Krishna groups and other solicitors can no longer seek immediate donations at Los Angeles International Airport.
The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a mandate lifting a preliminary injunction that was imposed in 1997 on Los Angeles’ solicitation ban at the airport. The court ruling allows Los Angeles Airport Police to begin enforcement of a city ordinance prohibiting solicitation and immediate receipt of funds in the terminals, parking areas, and adjacent sidewalks at LAX.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and airport officials said they were pleased the airport can finally act against solicitation of passengers.
“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 ordinance was first passed by the Los Angeles City Council on April 1, 1997, but was challenged by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California, Inc. (ISKON), which argued it has the right to seek solicitations. The California Supreme Court upheld the city law on March 25.
On July 7, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the preliminary injunction, but ISKON requested a re-hearing en banc before the entire panel of judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which resulted in a stay of the enforcement of the court’s July 7 order, airport officials noted. The en banc request was later denied and on Sept. 15, the court mandated that its July 7 judgment become effective immediately.
“The recent lifting of the court injunction means Airport Police can immediately begin enforcing our city’s law,” Airport Chief of Police George Centeno said. “This ruling allows us to exercise a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to solicitors asking for immediate donations at LAX.”
City officials noted that organizations still can distribute literature and speak to willing travelers, as well as seek financial support, as long as they do not request the immediate receipt of funds.
Violators face a penalty of up to six months in jail or a fine of $1,000, if convicted.