ALABAMA (WHNT) — A bill aimed at making it easier to arrest anyone without a place to call home is one step closer to becoming a reality.
HB24, sponsored by Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery, would make two or more arrests for loitering a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by spending up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Law enforcement would still be required to offer a ride to the person or ask them to peacefully leave the premises before arresting anyone, according to the bill.
On Tuesday, May 16, the Alabama Senate approved the legislation unanimously in a 33-0 vote.
Those opposing the bill said it targets vulnerable groups, with AL.com citing Lily Milwit, an attorney with the National Homelessness Law Center.
“We can’t, as a society, in the way that we make policy, pit the public safety of some people against the public safety of other people,” Milwit said.
Still, Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, maintained it was a “public safety” bill.
“This bill addresses or attempts to address things from a public safety issue,” said Barfoot. “It’s an attempt to make sure that we have law enforcement that can, instead of an arrest to begin with, that all law enforcement, if they see someone who is on state roads and right-aways can engage that individual.”
You can read the entirety of HB24 here.
The bill now heads to Gov. Kay Ivey’s office.