Denver mayor vetoes City Council’s ban on homeless sweeps in sub-freezing weather

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston on Friday overturned a measure passed by the City Council this week that would have stopped city agencies from clearing homeless encampments during freezing weather — the mayor’s first veto since taking office in July.

Johnston decided the legislation, while well-intentioned, “would restrict the city’s ability to do this life-saving work for approximately four months of the year,” according to a city news release issued in the afternoon that didn’t directly quote the mayor.

The release referenced Johnston’s House 1,000 sheltering effort, which as of Friday was providing temporary shelter for more than 1,175 people who might otherwise have been living outdoors.

The council passed its ordinance in a contentious vote Monday night. It prohibited the city’s health, public works and transportation, and police departments from removing shelters such as tents at times when temperatures were forecast to be 32 degrees or below.

Referencing testimony from medical experts, bill sponsors cast the measure as a common-sense way to prevent people who are homeless from being exposed to dangerous conditions that could increase the likelihood of frostbite or hypothermia.

But opponents described the limits on enforcing the city’s camping ban as a detriment to efforts to bring more people indoors.

The proposal passed 7-6. Before voting against it, Councilman Darrell Watson, whose District 9 encompasses many of the downtown neighborhoods that have seen large encampments go up over the years, implored the mayor to overturn the legislation.

To overrule the mayor’s veto and reinstate the new restrictions, the council would need a nine-vote super majority.

Related Articles

Politics |

What’s happening in Colorado’s legislature? Check our 2024 bill tracker

Politics |

Lauren Boebert’s election switch is shifting money game in Colorado’s two largest congressional districts

Politics |

Front Range drivers whose cars can’t pass emissions could get $850 for repairs under new bill

Politics |

At Denver intersections, window washing offers migrants a lifeline — and raises safety concerns

Politics |

Gov. Jared Polis signs first new law of 2024, boosting a tax credit for some households

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Stay up-to-date with Colorado Politics by signing up for our weekly newsletter, The Spot.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *