Texas Lawmakers Consider Bill To Criminalize Public Camping, As Looming Evictions Put More Texans At Risk Of Homelessness
House Bill 1925 — which would make public camping a Class C misdemeanor, a crime punishable by a fine of up to $500 — passed through the Texas House last week and now heads to the Senate.
If the legislation is approved, cities could lose state funding for failing to enforce the ban. The vote also coincides with Austin voters' decision to reinstate criminal penalties for camping in public spaces.
How would a statewide camping ban affect Texas cities? What does this legislation hope to achieve by criminalizing people and families who are experiencing homelessness? How would it be enforced?
What does the opposition say about the bill? What happens next in the legislative process?
- Eric Samuels, president and CEO of the Texas Homeless Network
- Karen Brooks Harper, health and human services reporter for The Texas Tribune
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, May 11.