Author: Meghan Dollar

February 18, 2020

Your “No” Vote Respectfully Requested

HB 20-1233 prohibits municipalities from restricting any person from conducting what is referred to as basic life functions in a public space. The bill would allow plaintiffs to sue for damages and attorney fees to enforce the law. Additionally, HB 20-1233 states that a municipality cannot enforce an ordinance that restricts an individual from occupying a recreational vehicle or any other motor vehicle as long as the motor vehicle is legally parked on public property or parked on private property with the permission of the property owner. CML is opposed to HB 20-1233.

HB 20-1233 will not end the cycle of homelessness.
Many municipalities work in partnership with businesses and community members on programs to end homelessness. Cities and towns spend millions of dollars on homeless services with the aim of housing persons experiencing homelessness. HB 20-1233 does not provide additional resources nor provide funding so local governments can continue to improve and expand services for their citizens in need.

HB 20-1233 will result in lawsuits against municipalities and divert finite resources
The proposed legislation allows plaintiffs to sue municipalities for damages and attorney fees under the law. If HB 20-1233 is passed, the additional costs from lawsuits will take finite taxpayer dollars away from permanent solutions for homelessness such as permanent housing services and safe emergency shelter.

HB 20-1233 goes far beyond an attempt to codify the court cases referenced in the bill
The bill allows anyone, regardless of their economic status, to live in their car in public places without any regulatory oversight from municipalities. This is a significant preemption on local control as it is very common for municipalities throughout Colorado to regulate long-term parking on streets by RVs and other vehicles, primarily motivated by a desire to keep the public right-of-way open for all users and not allow anyone to monopolize the right-of-way for their own personal use.

HB 20-1233 ignores overall community needs
Municipalities must balance the needs of all citizens in our communities. This includes not only the caring for the most vulnerable citizens, but also ensuring vibrant business environments and public safety for all municipal citizens.

While we welcome additional resources from the state, municipalities do not need additional mandates and restrictions imposed on them. State and local governments should both be addressing homelessness as partners, not in a way that creates conflict.

Related Document

Position Paper - HB 20-1233