SALEM, OR (KPTV) - House Bill 3115 would ask cities across Oregon to rewrite their laws to allow houseless communities to sit, lie, sleep or keep warm and dry on public property.
The bill says local laws regulating this must be "objectively reasonable" - asking them to consider the time, place and the manner in which someone is experiencing homelessness. It would also allow the unhoused person to challenge what the city considers reasonable.
This is where Jeffrey Liddicoat has a problem with the bill.
"They allow discretion with the word 'reasonable' I don't know what the definition of reasonable is," he said. "It leaves it up to individual municipalities how to come into compliance with the Boise court case."
The Martin v. Boise case is one the bill references as its background. In 2019 that case ruled that the government can't criminalize actions that are unavoidable when you're unhoused, like sleeping in public.
"Just think about how absurd that is. To tell citizens they can't do normal things humans do like eating, sitting, standing," Liddicoat said.
Liddicoat lives outside and said he doesn't believe this bill will prevent sweeps or harassment he said he's seen from police, a situation that can be extremely stressful.
"When they sweep a person, they take all of their belongings. They take their blankets, they take their belongings, their medications, everything. People should just reflect on what their lives would be like if that happened to them over and over and over again," he said.
HB 3115 passed the senate Wednesday and is on its way to the Governor's desk. Cities will have until July 1, 2023 to update their laws or ordinances.