Panhandling Legal Again in Sarasota

Panhandling is back in Sarasota.

Commissioners voted to get rid of the begging ban in response to an ACLU lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims barring panhandling is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects free speech.

The end of the ban is bad news for motorists, but especially for merchants, who say the homeless are driving away their customers.

Lifting the ban also means most any kind of solicitation will once again be legal in Sarasota city limits.

The ACLU says its lawsuit stands. The group wants compensation for homeless affected by the ban and attorneys fees.