Judge Says Fort Lauderdale’s Anti-Panhandling Law Treads on First Amendment

A federal judge has put a hold on Fort Lauderdale’s anti-panhandling law, rejecting the city’s attempt to paint beggars as a public-safety hazard.

The nine-year-old ordinance prohibited panhandlers from asking for money in public parks, near sidewalk cafés, and in the vicinity of businesses and ATMs, among other places. Panhandling in the restricted areas was punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

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