The Latest: Las Vegas makes sleeping on the streets illegal
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on Las Vegas city officials considering a law to make sleeping on the streets illegal (all times local):
Despite protests about a war on the poor, Las Vegas officials passed a law Wednesday making it illegal to sleep on the streets when beds are available at established shelters.
The measure framed as a ban on camping downtown makes Las Vegas the latest city in the U.S. West to take steps to try to deal with complaints about homelessness.
It has also drawn criticism from several Democratic presidential candidates.
Effective Jan. 1, the law makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for sleeping or camping in public areas.
Opponents and protesters called it unfair.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman, sponsor of the measure, called it imperfect but necessary amid what officials called a homeless crisis in a city with an international tourist attraction at stake.
Amid protests that they would criminalize being homeless, Las Vegas elected officials are poised to make it a misdemeanor for people to sleep or camp in public areas when beds are available at established shelters.
About 100 people rallied Wednesday at City Hall against the new law ahead of what is expected to be a contentious public hearing and City Council vote.
The debate makes Las Vegas the latest city in the West to address complaints about people living on the streets.
Officials say the new city law will protect the homeless, safeguard business interests and address a public health crisis.
Protesters call it unfair.
Rev. Leonard Jackson of the Faith Organizing Alliance says providing jobs, housing and health care would better help people now living on the streets.