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Texas Matters: Homeless Solutions, Trib Fest Questions And Horned Frogs Milestone

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Texas Parks and Wildlife
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Texas Horned Lizard

House Bill 1925, a statewide ban on homeless camping, is one of the many laws that took effect on Sept. 1. It prohibits anyone from living outdoors in tents, sleeping bags or bedrolls in spaces not designated as camp sites. Violators can be hit with a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Cities may not opt out of the ban or discourage enforcement of it. Cities like Houston and San Antonio already have similar bans already in place but it doesn’t take much looking around to see the camping bans aren’t strictly enforced.

With predicted tsunami of evictions coming , resulting from the COVID economy, it’s not clear if Texas will actually get tough on the growing number of unsheltered — or if Texas politicians just want to talk tough.

Meanwhile cities across the state are looking for sheltering solutions. Lubbock does not have the large homeless encampments like the ones in Austin, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an unsheltered population who need support.

Advocates for Lubbock’s homeless are looking for solutions, and a newly created nonprofit’s plan to establish a homeless transition center has become controversial. But as Texas Tech Public Media’s Sarah Self-Walbrick reports, existing homeless service providers say it’s a solution without a problem.

Trib Fest

For Texas lawmakers, Monday means time to go back to Austin for their third special legislative session this summer.

On Gov. Greg Abbott’s call is redistricting and how to spend billions of dollars in pandemic funding from the federal government. Also to determine whether state or local governments can mandate COVID-19 vaccines. Abbott also added the anti-transgender UIL sports ban which failed in the regular session.

These issues and more will likely be discussed at the Texas Tribune Festival which also starts on Monday. This year’s Festival is virtual and will take place Sept. 20 through Sept. 25.

I spoke the Texas Tribune CEO and Co-founder Evan Smith about the fest and developments in Texas politics.

Horned Lizard

If you call it a horned toad, horned lizard or horned frog it’s the same Texas critter that used to be common across the state. Today the Texas state reptile is now a species of concern.

There’s been an on going effort to save the horned lizard by a coalition of zoos and wildlife scientists and they’ve been making progress.
Tom Harvey with the Texas Parks and Wildlife explains.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi