Manatee County approves new panhandling ordinance

Manatee County

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Today, commissioners approved a new ordinance to restrict panhandling in Manatee County.

Panhandlers will not be allowed to beg from the roadway or the median.

Back in July, Bradenton resident Ryan Bray claimed he offered a frequent panhandler a job.

Bray said that panhandler then became aggressive, so Bray was fed up and held a sign of his own nearby.

That story caught the attention of the nation, and of Manatee County commissioners.

“It’s not an ordinance to stop panhandling. It is is an ordinance to protect the people that’s around. It’s a public safety issue,” said Commissioner Vanessa Baugh.

Commissioners also want to improve services to help reduce the homeless population.

Officials acknowledge the ordinance would prevent firefighters from doing ‘fill the boot’ campaigns. County experts recommended the firefighters could perhaps do the fundraisers in a parking lot, or perhaps ask people to provide their donation electronically.

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