A bill introduced in the Legislature is aimed at giving Colorado’s homeless population the right to public spaces. That includes letting them panhandle and sleep outdoors.
Supporters call the measure a Homeless Bill of Rights, aimed at what they see as the criminalization of homelessness in a handful of Colorado cities. The legislation would invalidate ordinances that ban sleeping in public places or outlaw panhandling. Laws enacted partly due to complaints from businesses.
“This bill is important because it has to do with human rights and civil rights," said Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, a bill sponsor. "I put those above and beyond any rights that businesses think that they have.”
Salazar acknowledges that his bill may not receive the Republican support need to pass the split Legislature. Groups such as the Colorado Municipal League are expected to oppose the effort, arguing that the issue is best left to local communities.