DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Daytona Beach city leaders are taking a tough stance against panhandling when they decided to move forward with a plan to prevent aggressive panhandling during a meeting on Wednesday night.
- City leaders want constitutional lawyer to draft ordinance
- Police chief says aggressive panhandling is dangerous
- Local business owners say panhandling is hurting business
- RELATED: Daytona Beach cracking down on panhandling
The city commission voted unanimously to have a constitutional law attorney to draft a new ordinance to make aggressive panhandling illegal.
Panhandling is protected by the First Amendment, so a new ordinance will have to go around the issue.
For example, it still may be legal to hold up a sign on the side of the road, but if a panhandler goes out into traffic, then that could be considered illegal under a new ordinance.
Daytona Beach city leaders say panhandling has become so aggressive that it is raising concerns about safety and sanitary issues.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri told Spectrum News 13 that panhandlers will fight for street corners, urinate in public and chase down tourists, demanding money.
That is one of the reasons why the city commission decided to enlist Melbourne-based constitutional law attorney Michael Kahn to draft an ordinance.
"It is a delicate fine line to protect everyone's constitutional rights. Solicitors have their place in society, but so do all the other people. So it's balancing those rights that takes the time to put this kind of ordinance together," explained Kahn.
Kahn says as long as there are clear safety and health concerns, an aggressive panhandling ordinance will hold up in the courts.
Local business owners say panhandling is hurting business and Daytona Beach's image and are hopeful the new ordinance can be crafted soon, although it could take months to form.