Governor Hobbs vetoes Arizona legislature bill banning tents in public places

The veto comes as Phoenix is dealing with rising homelessness.
The veto comes as Phoenix is dealing with rising homelessness.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 3:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (AP/3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed a bill Thursday that would have prohibited people from setting up tents or tarps in public areas. Senate Bill 1024 would have stopped anyone from putting up makeshift shelters on sidewalks, alleyways, streets, parkways and other public rights-of-way.

The veto comes as Phoenix is dealing with rising homelessness. A Maricopa County Superior judge has ordered the city to clean up a homeless encampment that spans nearly 10 blocks in the downtown area.

Business owners have sued the city over the homeless camp known as “The Zone,” where about 700 people have lived in recent months. They cite an increase in crime, drug usage in public, biohazards and break-ins. City officials must show evidence at a July 10 hearing that they’re cleaning the area.

According to the lawsuit, Phoenix should have no tents within public property. “We need to address Arizona’s housing and homelessness crisis in a comprehensive manner,” Hobbs wrote in her veto letter send to the Legislature. “Rather than solving these issues in a meaningful manner, this bill only makes them less visible.” Some Republican lawmakers disagreed with the Democratic governor, saying the veto enables homeless people to keep living on the street.

Officials with Central Arizona Shelter Services say the city could create designated campground encampments with security in addition to the current shelters, but the challenge is how quickly it could be set up.