St. Augustine leaders pass panhandling ordinance

The St. Augustine City Commission passed an ordinance that will crack down on panhandling in the Ancient City.

The vote was 4-0.

The new law replaces the city’s previous ordinance, which St. Augustine police stopped enforcing last year after a judge ruled that a similar law in Tampa was an infringement on the First Amendment.

Leaders called panhandling in St. Augustine a “crisis” last year, creating a safety issue and possibly impacting tourism.

Police say there have been an increase in “aggressive panhandling” complaints.

Under the new ordinance, panhandling is not allowed within 20 feet of an ATM or a city parking meter.

For schools, it’s 100 feet.