Friday, November 21, 2014

Suit Challenges Fort Lauderdale Restrictions On Feeding Homeless In Parks

Daily Business Review reports on a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Episcopal priest Rev. Mark Sims challenging a Fort Lauderdale, Florida ordinance that took effect on Nov. 1 imposing various requirements on organizations feeding the homeless in public parks. The suit claims the new law violates the federal and state constitutions as well as the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Sims and activist Arnold Abbott have been cited for violating the new law. According to the news report:
The highly publicized ordinance has been championed by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and ridiculed by cable television political satirist Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." The most notable alleged violator is 90-year-old homeless activist Arnold Abbott.
The city bars "outdoor food distribution centers" within 500 feet of a residential property or other food distribution center and requires centers to provide restrooms, equipment for the disposal of water and wastewater, written consent of the property owner, food temperature controls and other conditions.
Apparently separately, 90-year old Abbott filed a motion to enforce an injunction issued in 2000 against an earlier Fort Lauderdale ordinance.