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Jax poised to crack down on panhandling; green amendments; mental health; ‘little free diverse libraries’

Brian F., a homeless man, wears a mask while panhandling on Friday, May 15, 2020.
Robert F. Bukaty
Brian F., a homeless man, wears a mask while panhandling on Friday, May 15, 2020.

The city of Jacksonville is poised to crack down on panhandling. A new bill would make panhandling at intersections and medians around town illegal.

Supporters of the bill say Jacksonville has become the sixth-most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians. To address this, the city is looking to not only make it illegal to panhandle, but also to give someone food or money on the side of the road.

Opponents say outlawing panhandling criminalizes poverty and further punishes an already vulnerable population.


  • Kevin Carrico, Jacksonville city councilman.
  • Al Barlow, attorney.

Using state and federal constitutions to protect the environment

Maya van Rossum is the Delaware Riverkeeper and a veteran environmentalist on a mission to use state and federal constitutions to address environmental challenges like pollution and climate change.

She founded Green Amendments For The Generations for that very reason. The national nonprofit is dedicated to helping states across the country, including Florida, pass green amendments to their constitutions.

Guest: Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper.

Florida urged to reform mental health care system

Two years ago, a Florida grand jury investigating school safety and other issues after the Parkland mass shooting issued a report critical of the state’s behavioral health care system.

Last month, a state commission examining problems with Florida’s mental health system released an interim report urging lawmakers to reform the state’s mental health care system.

Guest: Dr. Christine Cauffield, LSF Health Systems CEO and a member of the state’s Commision on Mental Health.

‘Little free diverse libraries’

Recent controversial book bans in Florida are prompting a pushback. People and organizations are doing what they can to put more books out into the world.

There’s one such effort happening right now in Jacksonville: 904WARD will be creating what they call “little free diverse libraries” all across Jacksonville. The libraries will be filled with books featuring diverse characters and people from marginalized communities.


  • ReGine Newkirk Rucci, director of equity at 904WARD.
  • Hope McMath, director and founder of Yellow House.
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Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.