Quick Takes

Alabama Senate passes loitering bill

By: - May 17, 2023 9:00 am

Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery, sponsored a bill that would penalize people for loitering on public rights-of-way out of concern for their safety.

The Alabama Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would increase the punishments for loitering.  

The bill, HB24, sponsored by Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery, makes two or more arrests for loitering a Class C misdemeanor, with punishments of up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. 

The bill passed 33-0. It goes to Gov. Kay Ivey. 

Under the legislation, law enforcement may offer to transport the person or ask them to peacefully leave the site before making an arrest.

Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, carried the bill on the floor and said it was a “public safety” bill.

“This bill addresses or attempts to address things from a public safety issue,” he said. “It’s an attempt to make sure that we have law enforcement that can, instead of an arrest to begin with, that all law enforcement, if they see someone who is on state roads and right-aways can engage that individual.”

Critics of the legislation say the legislation targets vulnerable groups.

The bill’s critics said that it targets vulnerable groups.

“We can’t, as a society, in the way that we make policy, pit the public safety of some people against the public safety of other people,” Lily Milwit, an attorney with the National Homelessness Law Center, told the Reflector previously.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that law enforcement may, not must offer the alternatives before an arrest.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Jemma Stephenson
Jemma Stephenson

Jemma Stephenson covers education as a reporter for the Alabama Reflector. She previously worked at the Montgomery Advertiser and graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.