Payback for the strident Fox News host, however, has arrived. A story on AL.com credits Hannity for whipping the public into a frenzy about the frenzy that takes place each year on the beaches. According to reporter Dennis Pillion, “Residents have been packing almost every public meeting in Panama City Beach since the Hannity report aired to demand the city (and Bay County) make changes to spring break laws.” Under consideration are some recommendations from Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen to ban alcohol consumption on the beaches and reduce bar hours, among other measures.
In a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog, Mike Thomas, the Bay County commissioner whose district includes Panama City Beach, stresses that a crackdown on spring break activities has been on tap for years. That said, Thomas says he has “no problem” with the spotlight that came from “Hannity” earlier this year. With pressure stemming from the popular Fox News program, says Thomas, “we’ll get a consensus a lot quicker than I was able to get one.” And: “This will put more pressure on people to move a little quicker.”
Valerie Sale, a spokeswoman for the Bay County commission, tells us, “I think there are probably a wide swath of people in Bay County that weren’t aware of exactly what was happening and now that they are, they want to see some changes.”