Bill Allowing Homeless to Sit, Sleep, Panhandle in Public Passes Initial State Hurdle

Apr 23, 2013 2:55 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A bill allowing the homeless in California to sit, sleep and panhandle in public has passed an initial legislative committee.

The legislation from Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco says every person has a right to use public spaces.

Concerned about the number of street people, several cities have passed local ordinances banning people from sitting and lying on streets and sidewalks. They include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and Palo Alto.

Ammiano's so-called "Homeless Bill of Rights" prohibits police from enforcing those ordinances unless a municipality has provided sufficient support to the homeless. AB5 also requires state government to pay for creating 24-hour-a-day "hygiene centers" with restrooms and showers.

The bill passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday on a vote of 7 to 2.


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