City officials have made it illegal to sleep within 500 feet of urine or feces, but the city attorney says the new law was passed by mistake and won't be enforced.
The new ordinance makes it illegal to "knowingly establish" sleeping quarters near defecation unless that "deposit" is made in an appropriate sanitary facility. It was passed unanimously by the Las Vegas City Council as part of a bill making it a misdemeanor to go to the bathroom in public.
City Attorney Brad Jerbic says the council will consider a revised version of the ordinance that shortens the distance between sleeper and deposits.
"We were reviewing all park rules, including sleeping, camping and a number of other things people associate with parks," Jerbic said Thursday. "The decision, by me, was to take this (provision) out of the defecation urination bill and look at it with respect to park rules in general. It was my mistake that it didn't come out."
The law has been signed by Mayor Oscar Goodman, but Jerbic said law enforcement personnel will be told not to enforce the no sleeping near feces and urine provision. A revised ordinance will appear on the Sept. 6 council agenda, he said.
Homeless and civil rights advocates said the ordinance is another attempt by city officials to target the homeless.
"Seriously, are you kidding me?" asked Lee Rowland, public advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. "I don't know how on earth a police officer would determine whether someone has knowingly set up shop next to" urine or feces.
An ordinance making it illegal to feed homeless people in parks passed July 19 and a lawsuit was filed shortly after by the ACLU saying the ordinance violates civil rights.
City officials say the ordinances are aimed at getting homeless people out of city parks and into city services.