St. Louis, MO (KTRS) Homeless advocates fear a measure pending before the St. Louis Board Aldermen would make it illegal to help the homeless.
Reverend Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center held a news conference Wednesday on St. Louis Board Bill 66, which pertains to vending. Rice calls it the “Anti-Good Samaritan Bill.”
“This would make it illegal to feed the hungry, to find someone out on the street at night when it’s cold and offer him a blanket or a warm place to stay because Board Bill 66 tries to put under the whole vendor licensing aspect that you have to have vendor’s license to do this. It’s almost impossible to get a vendor’s license because you are not selling anything.” added Rice.
Rice says he is willing to face arrest should this legislation become law. “We’ve already seen police become very aggressive at this time, even threatening to cite people if they continue to distribute items to help those in need. This gives the police a vehicle to go on to ticket them, go on an maybe arrest them and yes, we’re going to continue to do what Christ has told us to do and yes I’ll be locked up if I have to, but I’m going to do it.”
Laura Shields of the shelter’s winter outreach, calls Board Bill 66 an attack on the homeless.
“I was taught to share and I think I’m expected to share, so this is targeted against the homeless, clearly. If a person is on the street and I have two sandwiches, why won’t I give them one? It’s decency and common sense.” said Shields.
This measure sponsored by St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar is still in committee. KTRS has contacted Coatar about this issue and is still awaiting comment.