Dahle co-authors bipartisan bill to ‘compassionately clear encampments’

A new state law, if approved by the legislature, could affect the homeless encampments around the state and along the Susan River by imposing new legal requirements upon those who clear them.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones welcomed Democrat Senator Bill Dodd as a coauthor of his Senate Bill 31, a measure that aims to compassionately clear encampments near sensitive areas.

Other Republican senators who coauthored SB 31 include Brian Dahle, Shannon Grove, Roger Niello, Janet Nguyen, Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, Kelly Seyarto, and Scott Wilk. SB 31 is currently in the Senate Public Safety Committee and is set for hearing Tuesday, March 28.

“Kids shouldn’t be exposed to the open drug use and the dangerous situations we are seeing in homeless encampments near schools and parks across the state,” said Jones. “It’s inhumane and unhealthy for our state to continue looking the other way when homeless individuals and families are living and building housing structures on sidewalks and streets. It’s also unfair and often dangerous for the neighbors, families, and children in these sensitive areas. I’ve said from the beginning, this is not a partisan issue. We welcome the bipartisan support on our measure to address this issue compassionately and connect people with the services and shelter they desperately need.

“Californians of all political stripes can agree on one thing — homelessness is a crisis in our state,” said Dodd. “We must work together to move people from encampments into better accommodations where they can have access to services. I appreciate Senator Jones’s efforts to address this issue.”

More than 2,000 Californians have signed a petition in support of SB 31, which will compassionately clear encampments by:

  • Prohibiting encampments near the sensitive community areas of schools, parks, libraries and daycare centers. This will help protect our most vulnerable population: our children;
  • Requiring a 72-hour warning before an encampment sweep. This will give homeless individuals a chance to find alternatives and services before their encampment is cleared; and
  • Requiring enforcement officers to provide information about sleeping alternatives, homeless and mental health services, and/or homeless shelters in the area. This will help connect homeless individuals to desperately needed services as encampments are compassionately cleared.