AUSTIN, Texas — In Austin, homelessness has been a hot topic for years. Recently, voters passed Proposition B, reinstating the camping ban in Austin.
The petition that launched the ballot prop didn't specify enforcement or penalties, so when it goes into effect on May 11, things aren't really spelled out.
However, HB 1925, does specify enforcement and was just passed by the Texas House. HB 1925 would create a statewide homeless camping ban and make it a criminal offense.
Under this bill, people cannot camp in a public place unless authorized. Authorized camping includes camping for recreational purposes or if the property has been approved for sheltering people experiencing homelessness.
The legislation states someone could be ticketed or arrested.
However, before a police officer does that, the officer has to tell the person where they can legally go and contact a nonprofit to help that person get info or services.
If the person is arrested, then the officer needs to make sure their personal property is taken care of. That means the officer needs to either allow the person to take it or the officer needs to take and store it until the person can get it.
The bill still has to make it through the Texas Senate to reach Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. If that happens, it'll take effect on Sept. 1.
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