Beginning on July 1, homeless people can now squat and set up tents on public sidewalks legally according to a KENS5 report.
This moves comes 10 days after the city council decriminalized homelessness.
Prior to the change in this ordinance, it was illegal to site, lie, or camp in public. But starting this month, officers will only give tickets to individuals who block pathways. Additionally, the city council modified another provision of the ordinance that only punishes aggressive panhandlers.
Naturally, this new change has stirred up controversy in Austin. Austin Mayor Steve Adler sees this measure as a step in the right direction on the issue of homelessness. However, conservative Governor Greg Abbott does not see eye to eye with the Austin mayor on the matter. In a tweet, Abbott expressed his concern about this change, which he believes could put public safety at risk.
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 solutions for the homeless & citizens. https://t.co/xYezoovVCg
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 24, 2019
Abbott even declared that “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.”
Adler disagreed with Abbott’s threat stating that “I assume that someone on his staff really didn’t explain to him what it was that we did because we’ve been laser-focused on public safety and public health.”
The Austin mayor added, “Public streets are public streets. And the courts have said that if someone’s not causing a public safety risk or a public health hazard, that they have as much right to be there as anyone else.”
According to a 2018 report, there are more than 2,000 homeless people living in Austin.
Texan urban centers have taken a sharply progressive turn in the last few years.
BLP previously reported how the Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot is planning to no longer prosecute petty crimes.
These policies are typical of leftist bastions which exhibit certain features typical of failed states. These governments refuse to provide basic functions such as public order or defend property rights.
This creates a form of political chaos where the law-abiding are ultimately punished, while the criminals are rewarded for their misbehavior.
Austin is by far the most progressive urban center in Texas, but it is often a trend-setter, albeit in a bad way, for public policy that is adopted across the state.
Austin’s new homeless policy is one idea that other cities in Texas should completely avoid.
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