The San Francisco Chronicle has this editorial on a bill that is too far out even for the City by the Bay:
California is getting its first nonstarter idea for a new legislative session: a "Homeless Persons' Bill of Rights" that targets curbs on behavior and conditions on cash welfare payments to people living on the streets.
The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, is an absurd reaction to restrictions on homeless conduct and tough-love ideas such as San Francisco's "Care Not Cash" program that substitutes housing and counseling services for welfare checks.
Other steps such as bans on panhandling and ordinances that bar sprawling on sidewalks have also infuriated homeless activists despite their general popularity with voters and public officials trying to devise limits on public conduct.
The measure, AB5, would enshrine much homeless conduct into a list of rights. Its hyperbolic text compares quality-of-life laws aimed at people living on the streets to Jim Crow laws that punished African Americans in the South, the segregation of Chinese immigrants or "ugly laws" that made it a crime for people with severe disfigurement to appear in public.* * *A proposed Homeless Bill of Rights could cancel out many locally passed laws. Here's what the measure protects:
-- Sleeping in public spaces such as sidewalks and parks
-- 24/7 access to bathrooms, showers, water and clean syringes.
-- Car camping on city streets without restrictions
-- "Life sustaining activities" such as urinating and collecting recycling trash
-- Welfare cash payments
-- Meditating or praying in public
-- Payment for possessions seized in a roust
-- Right to refuse the offer of a homeless shelter
-- Right to a lawyer in most encounters with the law