On Wednesday, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston City Council passed a ban on serving food anywhere property owners have not granted permission to do so. The vote came after a divided city council debated over whether to regulate feeding homeless persons in the city of Houston.
With the vote having passed 11-6 it was Mayor Annise Parker along with council members Jerry Davis, Wanda Adams, Ed Gonzalez, James Rodriguez, Mike Laster, Larry Green, Stephen Costello, Andrew Burks, Ellen Cohen, Melissa Noriega voted in favor of the ordinance. Council members Al Hoang, Helena Brown, Mike Sullivan, Oliver Pennington, C.O. Bradford and Jack Christie voted against it.
The ordinance is one that requires anyone who wishes to feed five or more homeless people get written permission from the property owner to do so. The ordinance includes public land such as city parks. Another component to the ordinance is that it gives the city parks director authority to decide which venues will be legal for feeding and which will be illegal for feeding the homeless.
Upon the ordinance passing with Houston City Council, it was immediately announced that civil libertarians and volunteers made plans to launch a petition drive to have the ordinance overturned on the November election ballot. One noted civil rights attorney is reportedly planning to seek a temporary restraining order from a federal court to prevent the ordinance from going into effect come