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Tennessee to make homeless camps on public land a felony

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capitol.tn.gov
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The anti-camping legislation was sponsored in the Tennessee House by Republican Rep. Ryan Williamson (right) of Cookeville, and by Senator Paul Bailey of Sparta in the upper chamber.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has declined to sign off on a proposal criminalizing camping by homeless people and others in parks and on other local public property.

But the Republican governor on Tuesday let the bill become law without his signature. It takes effect July 1.

The new law will add local public property to the existing felony penalties that are possible for camping on state property, as long as the place is not designated for people to camp there.

The felony is punishable by up to six years in prison. Felony convictions in Tennessee result in the revocation of an individual’s right to vote.