© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A proposed bill from San Jose would criminalize homelessness

Sarah Lai Stirland
KALW Archives

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.

Houseless persons would receive a 72-hour warning before an encampment sweep to give them a chance to seek help. Enforcement officers would be required to provide information about alternatives.

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.

I am an immigrant from Ghana, navigating race, place, and being in a time of great possibility and turmoil. I believe in the power of us, and of our collective imaginations, to bring forth a world that fulfills the entirety of our beings. I believe in the power of our dreams. I am a law school graduate and a budding optimist. Forward ever.