'This is a traffic safety issue': Soliciting cars for money could be banned in Henry County

County supervisors discussing the idea, could vote in March

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Jay Mogyoros is a Navy veteran.

He's currently homeless, so during the day he hangs out at intersections like the one near the Henry County Walmart, and asks people driving by for money.

"If it's real cold, I try to get at least $48 if I can, to stay in a hotel," Mogyoros said.

After being medically discharged from the Navy, he lived off disability checks until last August when they stopped coming in because of an error with the paperwork he has to submit to get the checks.

He hopes to start receiving checks again in a few months.

"It's not like I want to do this forever. This is embarrassing," Mogyoros said.

He may not be able to wait a few months, though.

Henry County supervisors could vote as early as next month to make panhandling and any other efforts to collect money from people driving down the road illegal.

Supervisors discussed the issue at their meeting Tuesday afternoon.

"I get what they're saying. I should get a job, but, it's not like I can go and work at McDonald's or Arby's with my liver issues," Mogyoros said.

Henry County Attorney George Lyle said the ban on roadway solicitation is being considered for the sake of public safety.

"The community has a vested interest in using crosswalks, using sidewalks, not having people on foot approach cars," Lyle said.

The ban would apply to people approaching cars asking for money.

The penalty would be a fine of up to $350.

Mogyoros questions whether the ban violates his right to freedom of speech, so 10 News asked Lyle about that.

"I just don't think this is a speech issue. This is a traffic safety issue," he said.

If the ban is approved, Mogyoros says he'll stop panhandling.

"I really don't know," Mogyoros said when asked what he would do if he has to stop panhandling.

About the Author: