Organizations say new ordinance changes are Anti-homeless

ORLANDO, Fla. — Monday, Orlando City Council voted to amend Sec. 43.06. of the city’s Conduct code.


The vote passed 6-1 during Monday’s city council meeting after over 20 people spoke in opposition to the ordinance change.

City officials say the new vote allows Orlando Police officers to arrest people who intentionally block sidewalks and obstruct other people from passing.

“It’s not intended to go after the people that are sleeping on the sidewalk unless they barricade the sidewalk and intentionally decide they don’t want people to pass, and if that’s the case, then frankly, I did it for over 25 years I’d put those people in jail,” said Commissioner Robert Stuart of District 3.

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The new law goes into effect immediately, and those found in violation are subjected to fines up to $500, up to 60 days in jail, and or up to 6 months of probation.

Orlando Police told Eyewitness News the new ordinance goes for anyone, whether for solicitation of donations, distribution of materials, marketing, signature collection, expression of viewpoints, threatening to fight, or any other purpose, anywhere in the city.

“The ordinance will give law enforcement officers a mechanism to address anyone who tries to block pedestrian movement on our sidewalks,” said Orlando Police.

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Organizations that work closely with the homeless community feel this is a law directly at the unsheltered.

“We want our commissioners to keep advocating for programs to really address the root cause of homelessness, not a superficial sweep it under the rug or throw it in jail kind of resolution,” said Albuizu Marighella, representative for Real Orlando.

Marighella said the new ordinance change is not an answer to helping the homeless community but pushing them into a corner.

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The city’s previous “disorderly conduct” code referred to certain confrontations and violent-mannered people.

Local Attorney Roger Weeden said the new ordinance change infringes on the homeless 8th Amendment.

“They want to take the focus off what they’re really trying to do, and that is impact the homeless and make them disappear, and they cannot do that under the 8th amendment in the U.S Constitution,” said Weeden.

Weeden said he plans to work with the ACLU and other legal partners to help those who get arrested and possibly overturn the ordinance in federal court.

“I can anticipate if they pass this statute and actually arrest people or create an impact of fear and concern that I will reach out to the ACLU to file a lawsuit,” said Weeden.

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