Petition for proposed panhandling ordinance in Tampa being pushed

Section 1. That “Sec. 25-173. Public safety requirements for soliciting employment, business or contributions from within street

rights-of-way.” is hereby repealed in its entirety, a new Sec. 25-173 is adopted as follows:

“Sec. 25-173.  Street Vending.

(a) The purpose of the section is to regulate street vending on designated roadways in a manner that is narrowly tailored to serve the City’s significant

interests in vehicular and pedestrian safety and the free flow of traffic.  This section applies evenhandedly to all persons that desire to engage in

street vending, regardless of their message, and leaves open ample alternative channels of communication to solicit and distribute products,

materials, and money.  For example, this section does not prohibit persons from standing on a public sidewalk to distribute or sell products or

materials to a pedestrian or the driver or occupant of a legally parked motor vehicle and does not prohibit persons from standing on a public

sidewalk with a sign soliciting business at another location (e.g., eat at Joe’s).  Such activities are not prohibited because they do not result in, and

are not intended to result in, a transaction with the driver or occupant of a motor vehicle on the traveled portion of a designated roadway (and not

legally parked).  However, nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to permit activities that are otherwise prohibited by applicable

laws, regulations or ordinances.

(b) It shall be unlawful to engage in street vending.

(c) Definitions. For the purposes of this Section:

(1) Designated roadways shall mean the interstate system (including interstate entrance and exit ramps) and arterial and collector roads, as

identified by the City Transportation Manager, in accordance with the general guidelines provided in the standard engineering manuals

referenced in the Transportation Technical Manual, pursuant to sec. 22-304.

(2) The traveled portion of a designated roadway shall mean any portion of a designated roadway that is normally used by moving motor

vehicle traffic or that is not a lawful parking area.

(3) Legally parked shall mean a vehicle that is standing, stopped, or parked in an area designated or legally authorized for parking.

(4) Street Vending shall mean soliciting or attempting to solicit employment, business, contributions, donations, or sales or exchanges of

any kind from the driver or occupant of a motor vehicle or distributing or attempting to distribute any product or material to the driver

or occupant of a motor vehicle, when:

a. The motor vehicle is located on the traveled portion of a designated roadway and is not legally parked; and

b. Such solicitation or distribution or attempted solicitation or distribution, results in or is intended to result in a transfer of money or any

other thing of value, or a transfer of any other product or material, between the person engaging in the solicitation or distribution, or

attempted solicitation or distribution and the driver of an occupant of the motor vehicle.

(d) The prohibitions contained in this Section shall not apply to law enforcement or rescue personnel engaged in the performance of their official duties.

(e) The prohibitions contained in this Section shall not apply to vehicles traveling on a roadway not open for travel by the general public.

Section 2. Severability.  The provisions of this ordinance shall be deemed to be severable.  If any provision of this ordinance is judicially determined to be

unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such determination shall not affect the validity of any other provision of this ordinance.

Section 3. That all ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of any conflict.

Section 4. That this ordinance shall take effect immediately upon becoming a law.

Last month during a discussion regarding a possible ordinance cracking down on the homeless in Hillsborough County, Tampa resident Spencer Kass, the president of the Virginia Park Neighborhood Association, said that if the Tampa City Council didn't want to pass such a law, city residents would demand it in the form of a ballot initiative.

The drive to collect the necessary signatures is now on, with Kass & supporters having to amass a total of 18,000 signatures to get it on the ballot for Tampa's March 1 municipal elections.  But there's not a lot of time, as the deadline is in 13 days - December 26 - to get those 18,000 signatures into the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office.

With those elections approaching, panhandling in the city has already emerged as one of the major topics of discussion on the campaign trail, and no doubt will be a question that each candidate for both offices will be asked about a lot in the coming weeks and months to come.

The petition is accessible at the Virginia Park Neighborhood Association's website. You can find how the petition is worded below.

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