After meeting for hours on Tuesday night, the Lancaster City Council ultimately decided to postpone its vote for an ordinance that would potentially put more restrictions on giving out food to the homeless in public spaces. The Council did however conduct a unanimous vote in which they decided to return in about six months to... vote.
Lancaster residents, activists, and even homeless from the area filled the council chambers to plead their cases.
“You keep saying it’s not punitive when you’re putting a burden on the people who are serving your residents,” Mel Tillekeratne, who operates The Shower of Hope nonprofit said. “If the ordinance passes, and the way it’s written, for them to waive permit fees, it’s going to take years.”
But the Mayor of Lancaster R. Rex Parris disagreed, and noted that the city needs a way to regulate those who behave "badly."
“What really happens is that some people… they are pigs,” Parris said. “They don’t clean up after them. They defecate in people’s property. They are doing it badly. We need a vehicle to make those people stop doing that.”
Last year, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that feeding the homeless was "expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment."
We'll check back in about six months...
Read more on the Los Angeles Daily News.