Fort Lauderdale's Anti-Panhandling Scheme Gets Attention From National Lawyers' Guild
There's a no-panhandling zone in downtown Miami, and Fort Lauderdale currently prohibits asking for change along the beach. But the Fort Lauderdale City Commission is considering some tough new regulations that would effectively ban panhandling in the entire downtown area. That's in addition to a proposed $26,000 campaign to tell people not to give money to beggars.
The ordinance would effectively prohibit anyone from asking for donations nearly anywhere in the downtown area, as it forbids panhandling within 15 feet of a bus, bus stop, sidewalk cafe, parking lot or garage, parking pay station, park, ATM, building, or private property. This covers nearly the entire downtown Fort Lauderdale area, effecting an unconstitutional infringement on residents' First Amendment right to ask for money for their own survival. In addition, the ordinance would prohibit any charitable organization, such as the Salvation Army or United Way, from soliciting donations nearly anywhere in the downtown area.
Bus stops or any public transportation facility.Public transportation vehicle.Area within 15 feet, in any direction, of a sidewalk café.Parking lot, parking garage, or parking pay station owned or operated by the city.Park owned or operated by the city.Area within 15 feet, in any direction, of an automatic teller machine or entrance/exit of a commercial or city building.Private property, unless the panhandler has permission from the owner of such property.
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