Sunday, June 01, 2008

Panhandling -- or something -- is banned in Miami

Panhandling has been banned in downtown Miami and current hotspot Mary Brickell Village.

But the new law doesn't define what panhandling is. A definition was left out after commissioners, concerned that they might be prohibiting fundraising efforts like Salvation Army Santas, were assured by an assistant city attorney that the meaning of "panhandling" has become part of the vernacular.

I don't know about that. Most cities that restrict panhandling have been careful to distinguish between passive begging (which is protected by the First Amendment) and aggressive panhandling, which typically includes behavior like using profanity, refusing to take "no" for an answer, and blocking someone's path.

Commissioners apparently believe that banning panhandling will foster economic growth.

In response to pleas from advocates for the homeless to ease up on penalties, commissioners agreed to give first-offense warnings and to impose fines or jail time -- not both -- upon repeat offenses.

Read the Miami Today article here.


At 11:43 AM, Anonymous michael said...

As usual, law makers show their inability to think "outside of the box" - and the homeless, who by the very need to adapt for survival will do so - and they will simple find another way to panhandle without getting caught.

It would be less expensive for local municipalities to be proactive at reducing the numbers of homeless in their communities instead of engaging in knee jerk reactions.

How is that local officials are smart enough to raise campaign funds to get elected, but aren't smart enough to do what's right?


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