PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A House bill that would have granted people experiencing homelessness in Oregon the right to sleep in public spaces and the right to be compensated $1,000 if they’re denied access to the public space is dead.
Lawmakers say House Bill 3501, known as the “right to rest” bill, is not moving forward in the legislative session because it has missed several key deadlines.
The bill has received attention from national news outlets, prompting House Majority Leader Rep. Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, to issue a public statement about the bill Tuesday morning.
“House Bill 3501 doesn’t have the support or the time to move forward, full stop,” she said.
Although the bill could not move forward, some lawmakers had planned to hold a public hearing to discuss the bill Thursday. Fahey said the bill had become a significant distraction and for this reason, the public hearing has been canceled.
Fahey said she personally does not support the policy in the bill and said many others in the House, in both parties, have concerns.
“This session, the Legislature has prioritized strategies to get people off the streets and on the path out of homelessness, including the production of housing, addressing youth homelessness, and mental health care and addiction treatment,” Fahey said.
She believes lawmakers should continue down this path.
HB 3501 was co-sponsored by Rep. Farrah Chaichi, D-Beaverton, and Rep. Khanh Pham, D-Portland.
KOIN 6 News requested a statement from the sponsors regarding the bill. Chaichi replied on Wednesday, May 3 and said she had hoped the hearing could still take place to allow for a conversation about what she called a dire human rights situation.
Chaichi said the Right to Rest Act could have passed this session if it had been added as an amendment to another bill.
“We haven’t passed any policies that will end homelessness so the problem is not going away and we will still need to address this in the future,” she said.
KOIN also sought comment from House Minority Leader Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, but did not receive a response.
Editor’s Note: A previously published version of this story did not include the statement from Rep. Chaichi. The article was updated once KOIN received the representative’s statement.