Maine House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) is withdrawing her bill which would allow homeless people to avoid criminal charges for criminal trespassing on private property if they are trying to find a place to sleep.
On Wednesday morning, State Sen. Stacey Guerin (R-Penobscot) broke the news in a radio interview with George Hale and Ric Tyler on Voice of Maine that Speaker Talbot Ross put in a “leave to withdraw” on LD 1949 late Tuesday night.
Guerin said that she got involved with the bill after one of her constituents contacted her asking if Talbot Ross’ bill was real, or if it was a hoax or a scam.
“I was like, oh dear, it is a real bill,” Guerin said.
Apparently, due to public backlash against LD 1949, which the radio hosts dubbed the “sleep where you want bill,” Talbot Ross was forced to pull her bill and yield that Maine residents don’t want homeless people allowed to trespass on their private property.
“I think she’s heard loud and clear that Mainers were just not going to be accepting it,” Guerin said.
Sen. Guerin stated that she had not spoken to Talbot Ross personally about LD 1949, but explained her opposition to the bill in the interview.
“I think it would have been one of the worst bills of the session, really just taking away private property rights,” Guerin said. “Anybody could have claimed affirmative defense, which means basically not guilty, as long as they said they were seeking shelter for the night.”
Maine Wire Editor-in-Chief Steve Robinson joined GHRT Tuesday morning to discuss the bill, which was first reported on by the Maine Wire.
“It doesn’t seem like something a serious person would introduce to the Legislature, but there’s a lot of that going around,” said Robinson.