OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 896 (File 418, as amended by Senate “A”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING A HOMELESS PERSON'S BILL OF RIGHTS.

SUMMARY:

This bill establishes a bill of rights for the state's homeless individuals, as defined under federal law (see BACKGROUND). It specifies that these rights are available only to the extent that they are implemented in accordance with state law, rules, and regulations; federal law; and the state and U.S. constitutions.

Under the bill of rights, each homeless person has the right to:

1. move freely in public spaces (e.g., parks, buildings, sidewalks, and public transportation) in the same manner as other people and without harassment or intimidation by law enforcement officers;

2. have equal employment opportunities;

3. receive emergency medical care;

4. register to vote and vote;

5. have their personal information protected and a reasonable expectation of privacy in their personal property; and

6. receive equal treatment by state and municipal agencies.

The bill allows each municipality to create a notice entitled “HOMELESS PERSON'S BILL OF RIGHTS” that includes the above rights. The notice may be posted in the usual location for municipal notices.

*Senate Amendment “A” (1) allows, rather than requires, municipalities to post a homeless person's bill of rights notice in the usual location for municipal notices and (2) substitutes the federal definition of a homeless person for the definition in the original bill.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

BACKGROUND

Federal Definition of Homelessness

Under federal law, a homeless person or family (1) has no fixed, regular, adequate nighttime residence; (2) has a primary residence that is not designed for regular accommodation (e.g., a car, abandoned building, or park); (3) resides in a temporary shelter or other facility; or (4) is in danger of immediately losing their housing. The definition also addresses situations involving domestic violence or other life-threatening conditions (42 USC 11302).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

22

Nay

3

(03/25/2013)

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

12

Nay

7

(04/23/2013)

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

32

Nay

9

(05/07/2013)

Human Services Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

9

Nay

4

(05/16/2013)