Background: House Bill 24 would expand on the loitering violation in the Alabama Criminal Code to include loitering in a roadway or the right-of-way of a public roadway and deems the government is not responsible for any damages, injury, or deaths suffered in violation of this offense.
Our Position: We oppose HB 24. Laws criminalizing panhandling are unconstitutional as has been affirmed by the courts in Singleton v. City of Montgomery. Criminalizing the solicitation of charitable donations does nothing to advance public safety. Instead, it multiplies already existing barriers for people experiencing homelessness. This can include unaffordable fines and fees, the loss of their freedom through incarceration and a criminal record — all of which are obstacles to obtaining housing and economic security.