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City of San Antonio

The debate is heating up over San Antonio Police Chief William McManus' proposal to tighten the city's panhandling ordinance.

The issue, which was presented to the council's public safety committee in early September, will again be heard by the same committee in October. But it's not being received well by some sitting members of the committee.

District 9 Councilman Joe Krier believes that the ordinance may be at odds with freedom of speech and that people can express their right to give a buck to someone if they want.

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

San Antonio’s texting-while-driving ban is four years old and some city officials, like District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher, don’t think it is working well enough.

Last week Gallagher proposed revising the current cell phone ordinance, which prohibits use of a mobile phone except for dialing or talking, to make it even stricter.

Gallagher’s proposal is to prohibit use of mobile phones entirely, except for in a hands-free capacity. A news release outlined the councilman's concerns that more than 90,000 crashes across the state in 2012 were linked to distracted driving. 

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Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

It's almost 4 p.m., and police officers Ernest Stevens and Ned Bandoske have been driving around town in their unmarked black SUV since early this morning. The officers are part of San Antonio's mental health squad — a six-person unit that answers the frequent emergency calls where mental illness may be an issue.

The officers spot a call for help on their laptop from a group home across town.

"A male individual put a blanket on fire this morning," Stevens reads from the blotter. "He's arguing ... and is a danger to himself and others. He's off his medications."

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

The proposed city budget for FY 2015 places more emphasis on services like street maintenance than in years past, all the while talks are stalling in the saga over police and fire health benefits.

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