Crime & Justice

California advances bill to protect homeless sleeping in cars

In this file photo, Darlene Knoll, 53, takes a moment to herself, Wednesday, June 4, 2008, in the Los Angeles neighborhood where she resides with five dogs in her battered 1978 motor home after losing her job and home five years earlier. Under an Assembly bill meant to protect homeless people, local governments could not punish people caught sleeping in cars. AB718 advanced to the Senate on Monday, June 1, 2015, with a 54-to-12 vote.
In this file photo, Darlene Knoll, 53, takes a moment to herself, Wednesday, June 4, 2008, in the Los Angeles neighborhood where she resides with five dogs in her battered 1978 motor home after losing her job and home five years earlier. Under an Assembly bill meant to protect homeless people, local governments could not punish people caught sleeping in cars. AB718 advanced to the Senate on Monday, June 1, 2015, with a 54-to-12 vote.
Damian Dovarganes/AP

The California Assembly is advancing legislation to protect homeless people who live in their cars from fines and vehicle impounds.

Local governments could not punish people caught sleeping in cars under AB718. It advanced to the Senate on Monday with a 54-to-12 vote.

Democratic Assemblyman Kansen Chu of San Jose says his bill lifts a burden from Californians who have lost jobs and homes.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty says three in four California cities prohibit resting or lodging in cars.

Courts and advocates for the homeless have raised concerns about selective enforcement of the rules. Los Angeles is reconsidering its ban on living in cars after losing a court challenge.

Local government and police groups that oppose AB718 say parking lots aren't designed for living.