Sarasota News Leader

04/26/2013

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BAN BEGINS MONDAY Complaints about the increasing number of apparently homeless people soliciting money from motorists have led to a new panhandling ban in the city. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY COMMISSION APPROVES A NEW ORDINANCE TO PREVENT PANHANDLING, BUT THE CITY LIKELY WILL FACE A LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER IT By Stan Zimmerman City Editor On Monday, April 29, a new city ordinance will go into force, banning solicitation along the roadways. City police are now training on the enforcement of it, to minimize the chance a mistake will land the city in court again. Civil Liberties Union says the city could be vulnerable. "We believe this ordinance is dead on arrival in federal and state court," Michael Barfield with the Sarasota chapter of the ACLU told a The previous city ordinance banning road- special meeting of the Sarasota City Commisway solicitation was repealed in January, but sion on April 23. a person was arrested after that repeal. The The meeting had been called to put the ordiarrest led to a court challenge of city behavior nance in place quickly. on free-speech grounds; the matter ended up Barfield urged the commission to give City with the city under an Attorney Bob Fourniinjunction. er a little more time The new ordinance We believe this ordinance is dead to fine-tune the new tries to avoid the on arrival in federal and state court. regulation. "Getting free-speech issue, this ordinance passed but a representative Michael Barfield today means nothing," Representative of the local chaphe said. "This proposSarasota chapter ACLU ter of the American al, we believe, would

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