Thursday, April 25, 2013

California Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act


4 Redding California police officers surround a
homeless man as he sits in back of city hall.

The eagerly awaited and compassionately long overdue California "Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act"  passed its first hurdle in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a 7-2 party line vote.

In Los Angeles  the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  found that a city law prohibiting sleeping, sitting or lying on public byways constituted "cruel and unusual punishment," because the city has so few shelter beds its street people have nowhere else to stay.

The same is true in Redding California.

Many California cities like Redding criminalize homelessness, giving tickets for camping (sleeping) and sitting, often taking their necessary survival gear (tents, sleeping bags ) telling them to leave town and violate them for what you and I may very well take for granted...  everyday living and life-sustaining activities.

"The solution to homelessness is not citations or jail time, Democratic Assemblyman Tom  Ammiano  said.  He called it a narrow bill to provide "a few basic protections" that would ensure California does not criminalize homelessness. Proponents compare current laws targeting the behavior of homeless people to past Jim Crow and "Anti-Okie" laws that were designed to segregate or remove people deemed undesirable."

Redding, with a city council who believes the poor , homeless and marginalized do not fall under their governing jurisdiction along with the middle and upper class of our community, as well as a   "Handouts Don't Help" campaign created by hotelier Ed Rullman and the Redding Business Merchants have noticeably increased homeless hatred in our community as well as a sense of homeless being a second class citizenry and promoting an entitlement mentality for the violation of their constitutional and civil rights.

The bill insures homeless have the right to "move freely, rest, solicit donations, pray, meditate, or practice religion, and to eat, share, accept, or give food and water in public spaces without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment or arrest.

Homeless people in California would have the right to rest in public spaces, including sidewalks, without the threat of arrest, and local governments would have to provide access to bathrooms and showers."

A.B. 5  is sure to receive a flood of opposition from League of California Cities, the Chamber of Commerce, and other business groups as it heads next to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

Here is how YOU can help...!

* For those of you in favor of  Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act we have made it easy to contact Redding's Assembly Member Brian Dahle online, or reach him at (530) 223-6300 to let him know you wish him to support  the California "Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act" and vote YES !

Outside of Redding contacts for California State Assembly can be found here.

* Letters of support needed for the California Homeless Bill of Rights (AB 5).

If you are a California resident, please take a moment to send a letter of support to Assembly Member Ammiano's office. You may fax the letter to (916) 319-2117 or you may mail the letter to: Honorable Tom Ammiano, California State Assembly, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.  

* Make a difference - Use social media to spread the Word !

Pass and share this page link around on Facebook,  Tweet it , Google + ,  Blogs and Forums, etc...

Please take the time to fight for our less fortunate brothers and sisters and the American concept that the nation founded on the principle that all men are created equal will not tolerate practices and laws that unfairly single out homeless people and criminalize them for everyday living and life-sustaining activities.

Redding Coalition for the Homeless Supports the California Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act.



"At a meeting in Sacramento last week, we learned that the California State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee has killed all proposed legislations which were heard and then placed onto ‘suspense’ status during the last session. AB5 (Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act) is one of those legislations. Our bill is officially dead.

More than a 100 social-justice based organizations have worked together to bring this piece of civil rights legislation to where it got.  Over the next six months, we will organize more vigorously and reach out to a broader base.  In 2014, we will be back with our Bill and will work to get it passed by the State’s Assembly, and moved on to the Senate. We will win this fight!

Local ordinances that criminalize sitting or sleeping in public spaces across the country are not the answer to homelessness."