PASO ROBLES — On Friday, June 28, the United States Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, overturned lower court rulings in Grants Pass v. Johnson that deemed it cruel and unusual to punish those sleeping outside and may also prohibit public camping by those experiencing homelessness.

The court noted, “Grants Pass’s public-camping ordinances do not criminalize status. The public-camping laws prohibit actions undertaken by any person, regardless of status.” The City of Paso Robles is currently reviewing and analyzing the ruling to ensure a thorough understanding of the SCOTUS’s ruling.

A press release from the City said, “It appears the Court’s ruling returns decision-making power to the local level, enabling cities like Paso Robles to tailor its ordinances and policies to better suit specific community needs.”

“This ruling is certainly a positive determination for municipalities like ours. SCOTUS’s decision appears to increase our cities’ options and ability to craft ordinances that prohibit sleeping and camping in sensitive public places,” said City Manager Ty Lewis. 

The press release continued to say: The City of Paso Robles remains committed to collaboration with local, regional, state, and federal partners to address the complex housing challenges faced by the community. The City seeks to balance compassion for those without housing against the quality of life concerns identified by community stakeholders.Thisruling provides additional tools for the City of Paso Robles to utilize in achieving objectives identified within its Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness.