A proposed bill from San Jose would criminalize homelessness
First proposed in December, Senate Bill 31, will ban people from sitting on the sidewalk within 1,000 feet of a "sensitive area," defined as a school, daycare center, park or library. The law would give prosecutors the ability to charge people in violation of this rule with an infraction or a misdemeanor.
Berkeley resident, Bruce Williams offered his thoughts on the proposed bill:
“Making it illegal is the weirdest approach I can imagine. We need services; they need to be provided a hundred times the rates we are giving them. The need is obvious."
Through Martin v. Boise, courts have ruled that governments cannot criminalize homelessness without first providing housing and shelter alternatives to unhoused people.
The Bill’s first hearing took place on Tuesday at the state Senate's public safety committee.