(The Center Square) – Spokane City Attorney Mike Piccolo confirmed to the city council on Monday that in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Grants Pass v. Johnson, there are no legal challenges to enforcing Proposition 1 that bans encampments within 1,000 feet of any public or private school, public park, playground, or licensed child care facility.

Local law enforcement has held off on fully enforcing Proposition 1 since around 75% of voters passed it in November.

However, less than two weeks ago, the nation’s highest ruled that the 9th District Court of Appeals erred when it determined camping bans violate the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment, reversing the lower court’s ruling that cities cannot enforce anti-camping bans if they lack enough shelter beds for their homeless population.

“The city is not bound by the requirement that it must have adequate shelter space to house the homeless,” Piccolo said. “That also enables the city to enforce the provisions of Proposition 1.”

Since the recent Supreme Court ruling, the Spokane Police Department, city council and mayor have received a swath of criticism over the lack of enforcement of Proposition 1. Although, Council President Betsy Wilkerson questioned the evidence behind SPD not citing anyone.

Last week, SPD told The Center Square that it was unable to confirm whether or not it had cited anyone for illegal camping in the days after the decision. A week later, a report still hasn’t reached elected officials, who on Monday requested it for one of their upcoming meetings.

“Officers will respond to illegal camping complaints as able and warranted,” SPD wrote in a statement last week, “depending on the particular situation, other calls for service, and staffing.”

The King County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over the most populous county in the state, recently stated they would not enforce camping bans despite some local laws directing it to do so. Some Spokane residents are worried that their local government is putting pressure on police to not enforce its camping ban.

Wilkerson noted staffing issues with SPD that limit the capacity to enforce Proposition 1 in the first place. She said the problem isn’t a quick five-minute fix and will require additional resources.

“What I’m hearing from you Mr. Piccolo, is that there is no legal reason for us to not be enforcing Prop 1 right now,” Bingle said.

“Correct,” Piccolo replied.

Community court will undoubtedly face a significant increase in caseloads if SPD begins enforcing the camping ban to the highest degree; however, the people cited usually don’t have the means to pay the ticket or get off the street anyway.

Councilmember Paul Dillon asked Piccolo how the Supreme Court’s decision affects the Washington State Supreme Court’s upcoming review. However, that review will consider whether Proposition 1 is legislative or administrative. State law requires local initiatives to concern legislative matters and not administrative affairs.

Piccolo said the state isn’t considering the legality of camping bans. Still, if it finds that Proposition 1 was an administrative matter outside the scope of a voter initiative, it will nullify the law.

Councilmember Michael Cathcart questioned whether the council could replace the law codified by Proposition 1 with its own ordinance using similar language. Piccolo said that since Supreme Court upheld camping bans and the Spokane voters passed Proposition 1, that’s an option.

If the court throws out Proposition 1, the council would need to codify its own ordinance around 30 days before the state review is finalized.

In the meantime, Councilmember Jonathan Bingle is advancing a resolution calling for the full enforcement of Proposition 1, and Cathcart has drafted his own changes to the Proposition 1 language that would expand the restrictions on camping.

“With all these legal wranglings and [municipal code] changes, I think we’re doing things that’s not going to give us a different outcome,” Wilkerson said, “because we don’t have the capacity to enforce it, and we’re enforcing it to the best of our ability with the resources we have.”