The Supreme Court has determined that prohibitions on outdoor sleeping are not cruel, unusual or otherwise incompatible with the Eighth Amendment.

In a 6-3 opinion on Friday, the nation's highest court sided with municipal lawmakers in Grants Pass, Oregon.

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Some years ago, Grants Pass moved to impose hefty fines - $295 - on outdoor sleepers. (Repeat offenses are punishable by steeper fines and jail time.) But the ordinance was deemed unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Friday's decision lends credence to punitive action against the homeless. As a result, sleeping rough may soon be unlawful in a whole host of cities.

Earlier this month, the Wenatchee City Council passed an ordinance barring the homeless from camping in public parks or on city-owned property unless overnight shelter is unavailable. The storage of camping items is also prohibited under the ordinance.

But the reality is nuanced, says City Administrator Laura Gloria. Wenatchee should not be mistaken for a hive of casual cruelty or anti-homeless sentiment.

"We are working on a network of support services to support those folks who truly are homeless and don't want to be in that situation," Gloria says. "But there are activities causing quality-of-life impacts, that aren't allowing people to enjoy our public spaces, including our parks."

"Being homeless itself is not a crime. But a lot of the activity that goes on in homeless encampments - starting fires, open drug use, open sexual activity - those are not legal behaviors. Our code was really focused on addressing those things" as opposed to punishing the unhoused.

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