Gaetz sponsors bill to allow panhandling on road ways

April 20, 2007

State Sen. Don Gaetz has sponsored the Iris Roberts Act (sb1946c1.html) which will allow charitable groups to solicit funds on state roads.

Escambia County officials have told us that because the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that governments can’t restrict such solicitations to just one type of group, this effectively guts Escambia County’s panhandling ordinances. The PNJ will be allowed to sell their papers at intersections.

The bill has passed both House and Senate and is waiting for the Gov. Crist’s signature.

Escambia Co. Commissioners are upset. Gaetz will not return Touart’s phone calls on the issue.

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  • Wing Ding April 21, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Seeing as how WCOA’s mad cracker, Luke McCoy, led the fight in getting the Escambia County Commission to pass the blatanlty unconstitutional anti-panhandling laws in the first place, we asked Mr. McCoy his reaction to his beloved Republican master’s actions. This was his response:


  • Smartazz April 21, 2007 at 6:30 am

    Don Gaetz may be a millionaire & have some innovative ideas about education but I fear his cheese has slipped off his cracker on this one.The alternative would mean he is pandering to special interests, which is it????

  • ross calloway April 20, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Although the News Journal may be non-profit (not by choice) at the moment, they are not a charitable organization. Given that, I don’t understand this. . .

    “The PNJ will be allowed to sell their papers at intersections.”

    besides hyperbole. At any rate, I agree that this guts Escambia County‚Äôs panhandling ordinances. I’m all for limiting hawking at corners to ONLY the kind of organizations that the bill provides.

    I’m guessing that it is the panhandlers who are the safety problem, as opposed to the fire department/ambulance drives or the boy/girl scouts for example.

    Seems like it’s just a better way to ‘manage’ fundraising activities on the public roadways, which I think can be done without including ‘the panhandlers’ and without excluding the traditional community organization related drives that we’ve come to support over the years. ??

    Not that big a deal, unless you live in ACLUland.

  • Eddie April 20, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Good for him! This will give Luke McCoy a stroke, for sure!

  • gb.silver fox April 20, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    gatz need to represent his constichutes, Im tired of worrying about my windstorm being cancelled or going up 150 5 each year . Im on a limited income and it is becoming harder and harder to make ends meeet.

  • observer #1 April 20, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    This sends the wrong signal. If we are talking about public safety, then NOBODY should be allowed on or near the roadway.period. NOBODY (including the guys with the boots or the tuxedo wearing church fundraisers, with the plastic buckets)–That’s if we are talking about public safety, though.

    If we are talking about straddling the Hedge, though, to allow the firefighters and cheerleaders to raise funds on the roads, but NOT those “unsightly street panhandlers”, all drooling and smelly—Then that is BLATANT discrimination. Get ready for the ACLU to jump in. Either way, it is a lose lose deal for drivers concerned about safety. WTF was Gaetz thinking? this was not a smart move, and he slapped a lot of local municipalities right in the face with this one. brilliant.

    oh-by the way– gb.silver fox–Gaetz is waiting for his staff and friends in the Insurance industry to tell him the most popular strategy to tackle windstorm/insurance/property tax/sales tax, etc. etc.–then he’ll run to the front of the line with a bill to embrace that approach.

  • Jason April 20, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    I have to say that I think there’s a need for some common sense legislation here. There’s a difference between a charitable organization and a panhandler. Make legit non-profits and charitable groups who plan on soliciting donations get a permit…just like a parade or any other event in the “public square”. No permit? No street-corner or sidewalk soliciting on state or county roads.
    Am I crazy or does this sound fairly simple to implement?

  • gb.silver fox April 20, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    why does,nt Gatz do something about windstorm ins. increases, and property tax reform?

  • Rodan April 20, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    This does not surprise me.

    “I’ll lick my finger, put it into the air, and see which direction the political winds are blowing, then I’ll let a focus group tell me what I ought to do, check with the NEA, NFT, and FEA and make sure they approve, then I’ll put legislation in to implement it and take credit for it…….I’m Senator Don Gaetz”

    This guy is smart, and popular, and has a really inflated ego. He’s a worker, and he’s workin’ it. He’s someone to be watched closely.