Arizona Governor Hobbs Vetoes Bill That Would Ban Tents In Public Places

On the heels of the City of Phoenix dealing with the increase in homeless and a court that has ruled homeless camps must be disbanded, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed a bill that would have prohibited people from setting up tents or tarps in public areas.

On Thursday, Governor Hobbs made the decision to throw out Senate Bill 1024 which would have stopped anyone from erecting makeshift shelters on sidewalks, alleyways, streets, parkways, and other public rights-of-way.

Business owners in downtown Phoenix banded together and sued the City of Phoenix for the lack of upholding the law over the homeless camp known as “The Zone,” that has brought issues impacting their businesses. The concern of the business owners said that their business and safety were being compromised due to over 700 people who have set up camp in the area and are now living in the area for the last several months. Complaints have included officers not enforcing numerous criminal statutes in the Zone, that it was allowing drug use, break-ins, prostitution, and violence.  In addition, the biohazardous materials that have been littering the streets, including human waste and drug needles that have been left to remain all over the area.

A Maricopa County Superior judge ruled that the city must clean up a homeless encampment that extends nearly 10 blocks in the downtown area. The court order states The Zone must be disbanded by July 10. The ruling stated that Phoenix should have no tents within public property.

“We need to address Arizona’s housing and homelessness crisis in a comprehensive manner,” Hobbs wrote in her veto letter send to the Legislature. “Rather than solving these issues in a meaningful manner, this bill only makes them less visible.”

Some lawmakers disagree with the governor, saying the veto enables homeless people to keep living on the street.