Bill Aiming To Crack Down On Homeless Encampments On State Property Now Headed To Governor's Desk

Senate bill 1854 would prohibit people from setting up unauthorized camps, tents or shelters on state-owned property. The penalty for violating this would be a $50 fine or up to 15 days in jail.

Monday, April 22nd 2024, 5:33 pm



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A bill was heard at the Oklahoma Capitol Monday that would crack down on homeless encampments on state property.

The bill passed off the House floor Monday afternoon. 

Representative Chris Kannady (R-Oklahoma City) says Oklahoma has seen a 30 percent increase in the unhoused population, even though the state has increased resources by 50 percent, over the last 10 years. Rep. Kannady says it’s time to try something different.

“Increasing resources will help, but it’s not working,” Rep. Kannady said. “This is a way to come up with innovation and new ideas, and has been proven to work in other places. I stand by it.”

Senate bill 1854 would prohibit people from setting up unauthorized camps, tents or shelters on state-owned property. The penalty for violating this would be a $50 fine or up to 15 days in jail.

For a first offense, the violator has the option to be transported by police to a shelter or food pantry. If they comply, they will not be given a citation. 

The bill faced pushback, with some arguing that increasing services for mental health and substance abuse, along with affordable housing, would be a better solution.

“The average Oklahoman is one paycheck away from living on the street,” Rep. Mauree Turner (D-Oklahoma City) said. “Fining them, creating more fees, more barriers, creates an inaccessible Oklahoma.”

The bill passed out of the House with a vote of 77-18. It is now headed to the governor’s desk.

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