SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new legal ruling could allow California to permanently ban homeless encampments along highway right-of-ways.

A previous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision had prevented authorities from forcing homeless people on public property to leave unless there was shelter space to accommodate them.

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Now, that same court released a new decision that clears the way for Caltrans to remove encampments that create a safety hazard along highways.

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“They’re taking this as a precedent, but they realize that it’s one thing to say people shouldn’t be here. It’s another to actually effectively police the areas that are under their control,” said homeless advocate Mark Merin. “They spend the money to clear them out and it’s not going away.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement supporting the court’s decision, writing in part:

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“This is a welcome ruling, confirming that we don’t have to let these dangerous conditions continue without taking urgent action.”