Springfield is defending its policies on panhandlers after a new lawsuit accused the city of violating free-speech rights by barring panhandlers from asking for money. The suit filed on behalf of panhandlers this week in federal court says police wrongly tell panhandlers that what they're doing is illegal. Springfield's ordinance is a bit confusing. It prohibits vocal requests for money, but allows someone to hold a sign making a similar request. The city passed the measure back in 2007 for the downtown area.