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GUEST COLUMN: State-proposed 'Right to Rest' law means 'right to camp' in public

       By Welling Clark

       Dear law abiding citizen -
       Colorado Representative Jovan Melton (D-Denver) has introduced the Right to Rest Bill for the 2019 Statehouse legislative session.
       If passed, those that claim to be “homeless” (even those who are homeless by choice) will be afforded rights that will impact your life. Below is an excerpt of the bill that states
Welling Clark speaks at a meeting.
Westside Pioneer file photo
where people “without a permanent residence” can camp/rest/whatever.
       House Bill 1096-01, Page 6, line 3-5: (7) "'PUBLIC SPACE' MEANS ANY OUTDOOR PROPERTY THAT IS OWNED OR LEASED BY A STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY OR ANY PROPERTY UPON WHICH THERE IS AN EASEMENT FOR PUBLIC USE."
       Streets, alleys, and generally the land between the street and your sidewalk is an “easement.” Essentially, if this bill passes, RVs/campers/etc. will have the “right to camp” in front of your home/in your alley legally and you will not be able to legally do anything about it.
       A link to the bill is at this link.
       Suggested action to protect your rights and your neighborhood:
       Contact (email and phone call) all state representatives in El Paso County and those on the state Transportation & Local Government Committee.
       Ask them what their stance is on this bill.
       Ask them to oppose it.
       If you don't hear from them in three days, e-mail and call them again.
       Keep doing so until they respond and agree to oppose this ill-conceived bill.
       Post their responses on Facebook and Nextdoor.com to let the world know where they stand and if they are responsive to the citizens.
This photo was included in a 2015 staff presentation to City Council regarding problems with people sitting or lying on sidewalks. The shot was taken at the corner of North Tejon Street and East Pikes Peak Avenue. Council approved what is called the Pedestrian Access Ordinance in January 2016; however, it would be superseded if the proposed state "Right to Rest" law passes.
Courtesy of City of Colorado Springs

       Contact info for El Paso County state representatives:
  • Shane Sandridge - shane.sandridge.house@state.co.us 303-866-2965 Republican 14.
  • Dave Williams - dave.williams.house@state.co.us 303-866-5525 Republican 15.
  • Larry Liston - larry.liston.house@state.co.us 303-866-2937 Republican 16.
  • Tony Exum - tony.exum.house@state.co.us 303-866-3069 Democrat 17.
  • Marc Snyder - marc.snyder.house@state.co.us 303-866-2932 Democrat 18.
  • Tim Geitner - tim.geitner.house@state.co.us 303-866-2924 Republican 19.
  • Terri Carver - terri.carver.house@state.co.us 303-866-2191 Republican 20.
  • Lois Landgraf - lois.landgraf.house@state.co.us 303-866-2946 Republican 21.
           Contact info for Transportation & Local Government members:
  • Chair Matt Gray - matt@matthewgray.us 303-866-4667 Democrat 33.
  • Vice-Chair Tony Exum - tony.exum.house@state.co.us 303-866-3069 Democrat 17.
  • Meg Froelich - meg.froelich.house@state.co.us 303-866-2921 Democrat 3.
  • Alex Valdez - alex.valdez.house@state.co.us 303-866-2925 Democrat 5.
  • Edie Hooton - edie.hooton.house@state.co.us 303-866-2915 Democrat 10.
  • Terri Carver - terri.carver.house@state.co.us 303-866-2191 Republican 20.
  • Stephen Humphrey - rephumphrey48@yahoo.com 303-866-2943 Republican 48.
  • Perry Buck - perrybuck49@gmail.com 303-866-2907 Republican 49.
  • Donald Valdez - donald.valdez.house@state.co.us 303-866-2916 Democrat 62.
  • Kimmi Lewis - kimmi.lewis.house@state.co.us 303-866-2398 Republican 64.
           Spread the word to friends and neighbors.

           Editor's note: Coordinator of the Avenue Task Force citizen group and past president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors, Welling Clark has been a Westside leader for more than 30 years. The text above is from an e-mail blast Clark sent out. It has been edited slightly for publication.

    (Posted 1/29/19; Opinion: Guest Columns)

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