Rhode Island is being crushed by pension debt, our cities are suffocating, we’re driving businesses away with regulatory minutiae, and we’re hemorrhaging young people.  Oh, and we just threw away up to $75 million on a video game company run by a former baseball player.

So what are our Governor and legislature spending their time on?

Homeless Bill of Rights:

Rhode Island’s governor is expected to sign into law the first “Homeless Bill of Rights” in the United States as early as next week, formally banning discrimination against homeless people and affirming their equal access to jobs, housing and services.

The legislation, which won final approval by the state Senate on Wednesday, bucks a national trend among municipalities toward outlawing behaviors associated with homelessness such as eating, sleeping and panhandling in public spaces.

Among other steps, the Rhode Island law would guarantee homeless people the right to use public sidewalks, parks and transportation as well as public buildings, like anyone else “without discrimination on the basis of his or her housing status.”

It guarantees a “reasonable expectation of privacy” with respect to personal belongings similar to that of people who have homes.

You can find a copy of the legislation here.  This provision will make ACORN and Eric Holder smile:

34-37.1-3. Bill of Rights. – …. A person experiencing homelessness:

(5) Has the right to vote, register to vote, and receive documentation necessary to prove identity for voting without discrimination due to his or her housing status;

And not only do they have “rights,” they have the right to sue and get their attorneys fees paid:

34-37.1-4. Damages and attorneys’ fees. – In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may award appropriate injunctive and declaratory relief, actual damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to a prevailing plaintiff.

In other words, dear retailers, your sidewalks are belong to them, and it you don’t like that, you will pay their attorneys’ fees.

Rhode Island politicians have their priorities so screwed up it is beyond a joke.