The City has agreed to suspend enforcement of the panhandling ordinance while there is ongoing litigation
Pensacola, FL - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida and the City of Pensacola filed a joint motion in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida stipulating that the court’s scheduled preliminary injunction hearing is now unnecessary as the City has agreed to not enforce Ordinance Section 8-1-28 while there is ongoing litigation. The ACLU of Florida filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on May 17 to stop the law from immediately going into effect, and agreed to vacate the order because of the city council’s agreement to not enforce the ordinance during this time.
Responding to the motion, ACLU of Florida Staff Attorney Jackie Azis stated:
"We are pleased the Pensacola City Council agreed to not enforce the panhandling ordinance while there is pending litigation. This ordinance, as have so many others in Florida and across the country, stands on constitutionally shaky ground. You cannot outlaw certain kinds of speech because it makes some people uncomfortable.
While we continue to fight this ordinance in the courts, we are pleased that our clients, and others, will not have their free speech or due process rights violated from enforcement of this law during this time. Charitable organizations and needy members of the community can still solicit the help they need without fear of punishment.
We continue to urge the city council to address the real underlying issues of poverty and homelessness in Pensacola, rather than infringe on First Amendment rights while creating more obstacles for the neediest members of our community."
A copy of the joint motion is available here: https://aclufl.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/013-Joint-Mot.-to-Withdraw-Mot.-for-PI-Motion.pdf
A copy of the order canceling the the preliminary injunction is available here: https://aclufl.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/015-Order-Cancelling-PI-Hearing.pdf