Tampa’s Panhandling Ban Signed Into Law

The panhandling ban was passed by Tampa City Council members Thursday and Friday Mayor Bob Buckhorn signed it into law.

The ordinance bans street solicitations on all roads in the city limits every day but Sunday.

The law goes into effect on Nov. 1 but will get warnings first but eventually violators can be fined or jailed.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Friday signed what he described as three “long overdue” ordinances to end begging on city streets six days a week.

The ban takes effect Nov. 1, though police say they will spend a week educating people and documenting their contacts with panhandlers so they know who has received a warning.

Violations are considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Buckhorn said. “Panhandling had gotten out of control. Our medians had turned into the equivalent of Gilligan’s Island and it was time for it to stop.”

Tampa’s new rules prohibit most roadside solicitations six days a week.

Newspaper hawkers can work medians every day, and panhandling and charity drives will be allowed on Sundays.

But Tampa’s 10 most crash-prone intersections will remain off limits to all sales and solicitations seven days a week.

Officials say people will be responsible for knowing where those intersections are, but City Attorney Jim Shimberg Jr. said police will be conscious of the fact that the intersections on the list tend to change as the list is updated daily.

“To the extent that there’s a change, the police are going to work with people and give them a warning, but make sure they leave,” Shimberg said.

St. Petersburg Times