Following the Austin City Council approving changes to the city’s ordinances involving homeless camping and “no sit, no lie” ordinances, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has officially shared his opposition to the changes in the form of a warning to city leaders.
Taking to his official Twitter page, Abbott posted the following:
“If Austin – or any other Texas city – permits camping on city streets it will be yet another local ordinance the State of Texas will override. At some point cities must start putting public safety & common sense first. There are far better solution for the homeless & citizens.”
Those who support the changes that were approved by Austin City Council claim that they will help to reduce the overall number of criminal charges that homeless individuals will end up facing, as all they are trying to do is simply survive.
Because of the changes, the Austin Police Department says that from now on, they will only be able to ticket individuals who are aggressively panhandling or who are blocking public walkways. Additionally, those who are blocking public walkways can also be arrested if they refuse to move when asked to do so by an officer.
Abbott also recently retweeted a post from a former Republican staffer who had claimed that a two-car wreck that had taken place on Seventh Street and I-35 was caused by “homeless people darting into traffic.” Abbott’s retweet of the post also included the following statement from Abbott himself:
“Look at this insanity caused by Austin’s reckless homeless policy. All state-imposed solutions are on the table including eliminating local sovereign immunity for damages and injuries like this caused by a city’s homeless policy.”
According to the Austin Police Department, they did receive reports of a crash involving two cars at that location just before 7:30 pm on July 2; however, no one was hurt and there were also no reports of any homeless individuals being involved in any way after reviewing surveillance video of the incident:
“There is no indication of anyone entering the roadway and causing the crash.”
Police, however, did state that one of the drivers ran a red light and was cited for causing the accident.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has since responded to Abbott’s opposition and retweet, in which he references the new information from the Austin Police Department. Mayor Adler had the following to say:
“Governor: Why retweet the incendiary lie that people experiencing homelessness caused a recent traffic accident? You blame what never happened on ‘reckless’ city policy? Really?”
Abbott has previously threatened to override the Austin homeless ordinance during the next legislative session; however, this will not take place until January of 2021, unless a special session happens to take place before then.
Meanwhile, the new homeless ordinance in the city of Austin has officially gone into effect. Additionally, the city has also approved the construction of a new homeless shelter in South Austin that is expected to open sometime before the end of September.
Thank you for visiting the Jarvis, Garcia & Erskine blog. We write to inform Austin locals about law changes, events and news.