Colorado’s proposed ‘right to rest’ law slated for debate at the Capitol

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Photo: Don Boyer in downtown Denver
Don Boyer sits on a chair in downtown Denver on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Boyer, who is homeless, says he spends time on the 16th Street Mall because day shelters are crowded and downtown is where services are.

A bill to give homeless people the right to linger in public spaces will get its first hearing at the state Legislature on Wednesday. The House State Veterans and Military Affairs committee will hear the bill, known as the "Colorado Right to Rest Act."

The hearing on House Bill 1264 comes a week after a University of Colorado Denver report decrying the what some call the "criminalization" of homelessness. In it, the author writes, “all across Colorado, jurisdictions are increasingly treating homelessness as a criminal condition, and are illegalizing the activities of homeless people in public spaces.”

The proposed law would invalidate Denver’s camping ban and many other municipal ordinances across the state.

Tony Robinson, the chair of CU Denver's Political Science Department and author of the report, and Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.