Homeless feeding ordinance struck down in Orlando

A few weeks ago, I wrote a story on St. Petersburg city officials' problems with charitable groups feeding the homeless in public. In that story, City Attorney John Wolfe acknowledged the constitutional issues with banning feeding in the parks. In a memo to the St. Petersburg City Council, he mentioned the legal department would be keeping an eye on court cases involving such "no feeding" ordinances.

Well, the latest ordinance against feeding the homeless in public was struck down last week in Orlando.

In a decision by U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell, Orlando's public feeding ordinance was ruled unconstitutional.

From the Associated Press:

Activists who had been feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park sued the city in 2006 over the ordinance passed that year.

Attorney Jacqueline Dowd, who represented plaintiffs including First Vagabonds Church of God and Orlando Food Not Bombs, said they were "thrilled" with the ruling.

"We are hopeful that this ruling will have an impact on cities across the country that are thinking of regulating people who want to help those less fortunate," Dowd said.

Check out the full court ruling provided to CL: orlando-versus-food-not-bombs

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