Hobbs Vetoes Homeless Camp Clearing Bill

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Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed SB 1024 on March 30, a bill that would have prevented camping on any right-of-way, such as a sidewalk or street

The bill, which passed in the Senate 16-13 and the House 33-27, would have been a landmark piece of legislation in a state that has experienced a dramatic increase in homelessness. Between 2020 and 2022, Arizona experienced a 23% increase in its homeless population, despite only a 1% increase nationwide.

The bill read, “A person may not erect or maintain in a public street, highway, alley, lane, parkway, sidewalk or other right-of-way, whether the right-of-way is dedicated to the public in fee or by easement, any full or partial enclosure for habitation, including a tent, tarp box or similar object.”

In essence, if the bill were not vetoed, any homeless encampments would be subject to removal by law enforcement. According to Hobbs, the bill does not solve the housing crisis but only makes it more difficult for people experiencing homelessness to live.

“Rather than solving these issues in a meaningful way, this bill only makes them less visible,” Hobbs said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, it’s important that we are clear-eyed about the challenges we face and the urgency required to overcome them.”

SB 1024 was introduced by State Senator John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills. Before his time in the Arizona state Legislature, he was a police officer in New York City.

“In Tucson, we have the Gospel Rescue Mission amongst others who consistently have open beds,” Representative Rachel Jones, R-Tucson, said. “The problem is a lot of these people don’t want to get help. The solution for this is not to allow them to get a tent and put it in the street, and use drugs, and continue to stay in their misery.”

While many Republicans cited the continuation of homeless camps as a human rights issue, some of the members who voted against the bill mentioned how removing the tents is not a permanent solution.

“We have a crisis on our hands, and it’s very unfortunate that we are finding ways to criminalize people because they don’t have a roof over their heads, rather than find a way to get them into services, get them the help they need and fix our zoning code so that we can actually build the affordable housing that we need,” Representative Analise Ortiz, D-Phoenix said before voting against the bill.

On Friday, March 31, Hobbs signed into law the related HB 2381, providing displaced mobile home residents with financial compensation.

This article was published by The Center Square – Arizona and is reproduced with permission.


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