Panhandlers of Fort Lauderdale, Good Luck Figuring Out If You're Breaking the New Law

There's plenty to look into when it comes to  Fort Lauderdale's new anti-panhandling ordinance that was passed earlier this week -- how do business owners feel about it? How about panhandlers? Homeless people who don't panhandle? Advocates?

But there's one question we won't be able to answer for a while -- what the bill actually says.

According to the city clerk's office, it could be up to two weeks before the final version of the law is made available because of the time necessary to rewrite it as amended during the city commission meeting. That means the bill will be published right around the time it's kicking in -- and if it looks like the one presented to the commission, it'll give police a lot more leeway in what they can arrest the homeless for.

While the proposed ordinance includes a city-wide ban on "aggressive panhandling" -- touching people, not taking no for an answer, or blocking people's paths -- regular old panhandling would also be made illegal in many new places:

  • Bus stops
  • Public transportation
  • Private property
  • City parks
  • Anywhere within 15 feet of "the entrance or exit of a commercial or governmental building"
  • Anywhere within 15 feet of an ATM, cafe, or city-operated parking lot, garages, or parking meter

You can check out the video of the actual commission meeting if you want to know what they changed (I will too, and shouldn't have skipped it in the first place), but there's no way of knowing what it will actually look like until they get around to actually rewriting it.

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Here's the version they looked at on Tuesday:

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