Sunday, October 11, 2009

DeLand may outlaw panhandling downtown

The City of DeLand is drafting a new law to regulate panhandling.

In its draft form, the new law draws a distinction between panhandling, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled is a form of free speech, and “aggressive panhandling,” which is defined as panhandling by a group, or panhandling accompanied by profane language, threats or deception.

If adopted by the DeLand City Commission, the new law would make it a misdemeanor to panhandle aggressively anywhere in DeLand, or to panhandle in any manner in the Downtown DeLand business district and on certain main roads.

It would also prohibit panhandling of any kind after sunset.

A significant hurdle for the City Commission will be deciding whether the city can afford the new law in one of the leanest budget years in recent memory. Because panhandling is not against state law, the city must pay Volusia County $70 per day for the cost of jailing anyone who is arrested for the municipal crime.

Read the West Volusia Beacon report here.


At 11:34 PM, Blogger Leah said...

I currently reside in Longwood, FL about 20 minutes away from my hometown Deland. In my time living there I worked within a coalition to help end homelessness in Volusia County and still continue to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. I feel that this ordinance is completely unreasonable and would really like to organize some kind of peaceable protest or at least gain more awareness to the matter. By banning panhandling all together the city would be in violation of constitutional rights, and by limiting the law to only banning "aggressive"panhandlers this leaves room for police discrimination as to what they declare to be aggressive.
Not to mention that spending money on an ordinance that bans those in need for asking for money is completely absurd. That money could easily be directed at the local shelters and organizations assisting these community members in need.
So if anyone would like to organize with me, or has any information regarding this matter it would be most appreciated. Thank you so much!


Post a Comment

<< Home