Lana Hughes and JP Pritchard

City Council Considers Amending Ordinance That Prevents Dumpster Diving

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Houston city council says they are going to look at amending the original ordinance that cited a homeless man for digging food out of a dumpster.

City ordinance 39.2 which makes it illegal to disturb the contents of a garbage can in the downtown business district. Councilman C.O. Bradford says once the repeal process is in motion, there has got to be an alternative to the law regarding trash containers.


Even Mayor Parker said she was no stranger to this law.


Houston city council will consider making an amendment to the law that’s been on Houston’s books since 1942.

Earlier this month homeless Navy veteran James Kelly was cited for violating that ordinance. The story broke on News 92 FM and received international attention.

A vote on the amendment was expected Wednesday, but city council member James Rodriguez tagged the motion and it will be reconsidered in a week.

The proposal will now go to the “quality of life” committee, chaired by Rodriguez.

Related: Homeless Houston Veteran Cited for Dumpster Diving in Search for Food [Listen]

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