The Virginia Senate voted to let Fairfax County prohibit its residents from sleeping anywhere but their bedrooms.
January 27, 2001 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Anywhere else in their house or apartment, that is. Now, liberals complain that it's racist -- excuse me, that it "unfairly targets immigrant communities" -- and conservatives say it's an "inappropriate intrusion of government into private homes". So what were they thinking?

posted by sudama at 6:37 PM on January 27, 2001

What does that do for college dorms?
posted by Postroad at 6:47 PM on January 27, 2001

They were thinking, "I can't find anywhere to park my SUV--except in my driveway. How inconvenient."

Guess that means no more sleeping on the job in Virginia!
posted by xiffix at 7:18 PM on January 27, 2001

Let them sleep in their bedrooms; and there, let them eat cake.
posted by kv at 7:33 PM on January 27, 2001

Whoa... I had just finished reading The Onion, so it was hard to take this one seriously.

It's really just a terrible way to deal with the problem. People can't sleep on their freakin' couches? Yeah, right. Are there no zoning laws about maximum occupancy or something? That would make *far* more sense. At least in my town, the Board of Health would probably step in and say that it's a threat to public health or some such...

That's not to say that more "reasonable" laws are the right idea - fixing a cause is far better than simply making the effect illegal. I can't think of a solution, but there must be a better way to deal with it...
posted by whatnotever at 7:38 PM on January 27, 2001

Does this kill the camping industry in Fairfax? :)

This to me seems like something that would be laughed at immediately after it's proposed. I can't believe it's got this far. And really, how are they going to enforce this? Bust in the houses quietly so you can catch them in the act?
posted by Mark at 7:46 PM on January 27, 2001

"Now how did you get fined again?"

"I fell asleep on the couch watching TV & woke up with this ticket taped to my forehead.."
posted by zempf at 8:36 PM on January 27, 2001

Good one zempf.

As a college student who's spent more than a few nights after a noisy party crashing on a friend's couch, I guess if I lived in Fairfax this bill would be somewhat aimed at me. I'll tell you, some of the best times I had during high school were followed up by sleeping on someone's couch/floor/recliner/kitchen table. I guess we'd all be criminals in Virginia.

I can see police taking action when a neighbor calls in and complains of 50 people sleeping in the aparmtment on the floor below, but other than those blatant cases, how do they expect to inforce this?

I suppose those blatant cases are the only ones the new law is really aimed at.
posted by tomorama at 9:25 PM on January 27, 2001

I think the law is institutionalized racism intended to stifle the growth of communities of color in an increasingly wealthy county that's home to the technology hub of the east.
posted by sudama at 9:52 PM on January 27, 2001

This is not only a nasty snub to immigrant communities, it is going to give already overworked enforcement agencies (whether civil or law) a major headache when people start using this law as a wedge in neighbour disputes. Hate the people upstairs? Call and turn them in when their kid has a sleepover and has three little friends in sleeping bags in the living room.

It would seem like a situation absolutely ripe for easy protest, though. Everyone can mock up photos of themselves sleeping on their sofas, on their dining tables, on their balconies, and mail them to the legislature with the message -- Tell Me Where to Sleep and We'll Tell You Where NOT to Work.
posted by Dreama at 10:06 PM on January 27, 2001

I'd hold a sleep-over and turn myself in just to piss them off.
posted by Mick at 10:21 PM on January 27, 2001

Seems to me this could be solved more equitably with fire codes that already exist. If it's really a problem in the first place.
posted by aaron at 11:16 PM on January 27, 2001

Wow. Virginia must be an absolute Utopia if they've got time to legislate this sort of crap.

BTW, as a former resident of Virginia, It's good to see that they've finally got the rickets and inbreeding problems licked. Viva la progress!
posted by Optamystic at 3:25 AM on January 28, 2001

Virginia is for lovers!
posted by Postroad at 4:54 AM on January 28, 2001

Guess Fairfax had to pass a law that would get them mentioned in one of those "look at these stupid laws" articles newspapers run when it is a slow news day. Such as it is illegal to use an elephant to mow your lawn somewhere it South Carolina.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 8:38 AM on January 28, 2001

Here is the email address for the VA state senator in question. Please don't flame her, especially if you aren't a Fairfax resident.
posted by machaus at 11:43 AM on January 28, 2001

As a college student who's spent more than a few nights after a noisy party crashing on a friend's couch, I guess if I lived in Fairfax this bill would be somewhat aimed at me.

Good point - won't this proposal really just promote drunk driving?
posted by mikewas at 2:20 PM on January 28, 2001

Oy. I can't even deal with this. Excuse me while I rant for a moment.

I've been researching homelessness in Fairfax County, since September. Right now, there's a three month waiting list to get a bed in a homeless shelter here. There's a wait of one to three years to get government assistance for subzidized housing (called Section 8), and most people who are finally found eligible for the program can't find places that are within the limits set by the voucher. I was talking to folks at the Lamb Center last week. They help homeless people in the central parts of the county, and they've seen the number of "guests" they serve per day double since 1998. The average apartment rental is over $1000, and even efficiencies cost more than $800/month. The "average" household income is over $75,000/year here, yet 10% of families make less than $27,000/year (most of these are immigrant families).

It strikes me that unless serious funding is put toward lowering rents or building affordable housing, sleeping on the couch & crowding together is the best possible solution for most low income families. And what is criminalizing everyone whose house is crowded going to do?

... Sorry, I'm probably preaching to the converted here. But this makes me sick.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:38 PM on January 28, 2001

And what is criminalizing everyone whose house is crowded going to do?

Get them to leave the county. After all, they "drive down property values," and Fairfax residents can live without a low-wage service industry, can't they?
posted by daveadams at 11:23 AM on January 29, 2001

why can't i flame if i want to? this kind of government intrusion is disturbing and shouldn't be tolerated. i liked dreama's note: Tell Me Where to Sleep and We'll Tell You Where NOT to Work.

i'm writing her right now.
posted by j.toronado at 11:30 AM on January 29, 2001

The Va. Senate voted 39-1 today to strike the bill from the calendar (ref.)... anyone know what this means?
posted by sudama at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2001

If this article is any indication, it means that the bill won't be voted on, let alone passed.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:35 AM on January 30, 2001

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