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The Associated Press May 3, 2012, 10:57AM ET

RI Senate passes "Homeless Bill of Rights"

The Rhode Island Senate has endorsed legislation that would give homeless people greater protections against discrimination.

The Senate voted 33-to-2 to pass the so-called "Homeless Bill of Rights" on Wednesday. The legislation now moves to the House.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. John Tassoni, says he wants to prevent landlords, police, health care workers and others from treating homeless people unfairly.

The bill specifically guarantees homeless people equal access to voting, housing, public buildings, public transportation, social services, employment and law enforcement.

State law already prohibits such discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or other characteristics.

The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless says about 4,400 people in the state experienced homelessness at some point in 2010.

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