The Senate is to pass a bill on the homeless

The Senate is to pass a bill on the homeless

Catherine Wall, Staff Writer

In Georgia, there is a bill in the Senate that seeks to ban homeless people from sleeping or camping on public property. In fact, it could penalize cities like Atlanta for having a higher-than-average homeless population and could use federal money to build a state-funded camping area specifically reserved for the homeless. 

Senator Carden Summers of Cordele believes these designated encampment areas are helpful. 

“There are a lot of vacant areas in every city,” Summers said.

Some take issue with the creation and enforcement of these camps, because it could create a public health issue to have everyone in the same area who are suffering from things such as addiction and mental health. 

“I tend to feel that people experiencing homelessness are really mistreated and dehumanized in a lot of ways already and that the bill seems like a step kind of along the lines of more anti-homelessness architecture, things like that,” said freshman political science major Katie Cooper. “It could further criminalize an already vulnerable group of people in the U.S.” 

There is also a concern that it could allow law enforcement officers to force people experiencing homelessness to move completely. To some, the laws surrounding this bill could be too loose and more open to interpretation. 

Some think it could be a positive thing, as the homeless would  no longer be on the streets.


“I feel like they should try and be enforcing it,” said freshman business management major Peyton Roger. “No one should be just out sleeping on benches and everything. It could be a positive thing so that the homeless are not just on the streets.”

 “When you ride down a road in Atlanta, anywhere within a two-mile radius of this capital, homelessness is out of control,” Summers said.

On Feb. 15, 2023, the State Senate and Local Government Operations Committee voted four to three to advance Bill 62 in the Georgia Senate. From here, the next step is floor action, and if it succeeds there, then the bill will be sent to the other chamber. Here, a conference committee will take place, with both chambers having to agree on the bill exactly. The last step would be sending it to the Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp. 

It is hard to say whether the bill will pass or not in the Georgia Legislature. 

“The bill has several factors going for it regarding its potential passage,” said GC political science professor Dr. Kevin Spann. “The bill’s co-sponsors include quite a few committee chairman as well as current and former members of Republican leadership. As for factors going against it, the bill currently lacks bipartisan support from Democrats, which, though not always necessary for passage, is relevant, as the Republican majority is not as overwhelming as it once was.”

Georgia must wait and see whether this bill will pass into the next steps needed to fully and legally become a law in the state.