LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Demonstrators showed up to Las Vegas City Hall on Monday to voice their opposition to a proposed ordinance they say will criminalize the homeless.
If passed, the bill would authorize the Department of Operations and Maintenance to determine hours for cleaning public sidewalks.
The ordinance would prohibit anyone from sitting, sleeping or camping on sidewalks while they are being cleaned. Anyone who impedes city crews from cleaning could face a misdemeanor charge, a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail.
Protesters said the ordinance appears to be directed at homeless people.
“This bill the way it is written makes it illegal to sit on a sidewalk therefore is an ordinance that would criminalize the homeless. No doubt about it,” said Emily Paulson, who spoke against the ordinance.
As of Dec. 2., sidewalk cleaning in downtown Las Vegas is an ongoing activity. The city responds to reports of excess trash and debris when necessary.
The new ordinance would allow the Department of Operations to schedule the clean-ups at their discretion but the bill does not specify when or for how long the cleaning would last, something demonstrators said is suspect.
“Just like that last bill, it’s a war on the poor. It’s criminalizing poverty. Only this one is worse because you have no limitations. There is nothing specific in the bill and it leaves it ripe for abuse,” said protester Joey Lankowski.
The bill was introduced by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman who declined to do an interview with FOX5.
The ordinance is scheduled to go before the city council on December 18.