The Florida Justice Institute (FJI), in partnership with Fort Lauderdale lawyers Mara Shlackman and Frantz J. McLawrence, filed a lawsuit challenging a pair of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s anti-panhandling ordinances as an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. One ordinance prohibits requesting donations in all public parks, parking lots, and transportation centers; and within 15 feet of any sidewalk café, ATM, or entrance or exit to a commercial or governmental building. Another ordinance prohibits asking for donations or offering items for sale to people in cars along certain roads and prohibits this speech along all city roads if holding a sign. All of these actions are punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
The Court granted our motion for preliminary injunction, declaring the ordinances unconstitutional and enjoining their enforcement. We filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, seeking to make the ruling permanent.
The Court has permanently declared several challenged portions of the ordinances unconstitutional and enjoined them. We will proceed to trial on the remaining ordinance which bans hand to hand transmissions with cars.