Lawyer: Tampa panhandling law shouldn’t bar union activity

by News on July 28, 2011

in State and Local, Union Politics and Transparency

By Christian M. Wade/The Tampa Tribune 

A lawyer representing several labor unions is threatening to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against Tampa if it moves ahead with a citywide panhandling ban.

In a July 19 letter to Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the city council, Brandon-based attorney Thomas L. Johnson argues that a ban would violate his clients’ constitutional rights by restricting access to city roads to protest or hand out informational leaflets to motorists.

He asks the city to exclude non-commercial speech – protesters, passing out handbills and other interactions between pedestrians and motorists where no money changes hands – from any panhandling ban. He said courts have repeatedly struck down similar restrictions.–ar-246693/

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