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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A compromise has been reached on a bill that would give police more leeway in handling aggressive panhandlers in the city.

The deal was reached just before a hearing got underway on Councilman Frank DiCicco’s proposal to amend the city’s Sidewalk Behavior bill in such as to allow police to sidestep social services when dealing with a rowdy panhandler.

Sister Mary Scullion, the foremost advocate for the homeless in Philadelphia, says she’s comfortable with the compromise.

“It continues to emphasize services, not citations and that is what we all have been striving for.”

Paul Levy, President of the Center City District says businesses and tourism officials also get some relief.

“Disorderly conduct can be enforced by the police as it would be for anyone regardless of status in life.”

Under state law, disorderly conduct is defined as screaming, acting aggressively, fighting, and generally acting in a disruptive fashion.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio

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