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Voters in Wakulla County can demand that a commission pass a panhandling law

Wakulla County voters will decide in November whether to require their county commission to pass an ordinance regulating “interactions between pedestrians and motorists, such as panhandling.”

The county board will hold a public hearing on the proposed charter change on June 3, but Wakulla County Commissioner Chuck Hess said the initiative will still be on the November ballot.

“We cannot reject this unless there is a legal issue,” Hess said.

Commissioners will seek to adopt the ballot language at their next meeting, but it is unclear why the amendment was questioned in the first place.

“This is a solution looking for a problem,” Hess said. “We don’t have a problem with begging in the district.”

Some of the people on the charter review committee felt Wakulla County should do something because Tallahassee has a problem with it, he said.

“There are intersections in Tallahassee where a lot of people get stopped,” he said. “We don’t have that problem.”

Citizens on the committee have spent the past year addressing various issues they would like to advance, said Wakulla County Commissioner Ralph Thomas.

If the proposed change receives voter approval, the committee will be tasked with drafting an ordinance, he said, but only after “we find out whether the citizens are interested in it or not.”

Thomas said he hasn't heard much about the issue of begging since the charter was revised, but the potential ordinance would be more concerned with public safety and not specifically target panhandling. The Wakulla County Chamber of Commerce said it will not comment on political issues.

Current and breaking news reporter Elena Barrera can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on X: @elenabarreraaa.

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