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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
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Ordinance prohibits sleeping on bus benches in Hernando


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— Those who fall asleep on a bus-stop bench in Hernando County could wake up with a citation.

Hernando commissioners voted Tuesday to make it a crime for people to lie down or sleep on mass transit buses, in bus shelters or on the sidewalks surrounding those shelters during bus operating hours.

Nodding off in a sitting position is fine. So is partial reclining. Code enforcement officers will enforce the ordinance, and if people are found in violation, they will be asked to sit up or leave.

“This is not about homelessness, it’s not about sleeping,” said assistant county attorney Randy Griffiths. “You can’t hog the bench during operating hours of the bus lines.”

Two people in the audience Tuesday spoke against the ordinance.

County attorney Garth Coller said people shouldn’t expect heavy-handed enforcement of the ordinance. There have been problems in other jurisdictions, and this is an attempt to head off potential future problems, he said.

County staff members said the ordinance is needed because reclining in such locations is not only dangerous for the person but is disruptive and inconvenient to adults, children, those with special needs or riders with disabilities attempting to travel on buses.

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