ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The Orlando City Commission passed the new panhandling ordinance unanimously. Now, panhandlers can ask people on the street for cash, at any time. But it's against the law for them to take donations from people in cars.
This is all because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that panhandling is free speech. So Orlando has changed its anti-panhandling rules to address this.
It's now illegal for panhandlers to accept things from anyone in a car. But it's now legal for them to ask pedestrians for hand-outs, as long as panhandlers don't follow people around or act aggressive. Mayor Buddy Dyer said it gives police the tools they need to enforce the law without trampling on anyone's civil rights.
“We looked at what other cities had done and other court decisions and came up with some procedures that address aggressive panhandling,” Dyer said, “so that's somebody that maybe asks you for money, and you said no, and they continue to harass you and chase you down the sidewalk.”
The law also affects civic groups doing fill-the-boot campaigns. Police say fundraisers will have to direct drivers to nearby parking lots where they can legally give money.