Texas Senate Bill 987 Could Ban Camping in a Public Space
The Texas Senate Committee on Local Control is taking a look at Senate Bill 987 today according to KVUE.com.
I saw this article and stopped because I have a couple of camping trips coming up in late April and May. A closer look at this bill shows that this has very little to do with camping at all, and a lot to do with the growing problem of homelessness in our state.
Senate Bill 987 was introduced by Sen. Dawn Buckingham of Lakeway, Texas (just outside of Austin). In fact, it's almost the same wording as a proposition that voters in Austin will be deciding on next month.
Here's what is happening. Senate Bill 987, along with the proposition coming up for the Capital city in May, both focus on the homeless population of the state and specifically in Austin. Some politicians feel that by saying residents can't camp in a public space, they will then be able to tell the homeless that they can not set up tents or sleep in public areas. As many have pointed out, it almost forces the homeless community to go into hiding. They certainly aren't 'camping' as they are living on the streets inside a tent.
If the Austin vote on Proposition B fails to reinstate the ban next month, Senate Bill 987 could keep the idea alive. Either way, it does not seem like much of a solution to getting the homeless housed throughout our state. That is the hard part. Banning someone from sleeping on a park bench and calling it 'camping' is easy. Solving this issue is hard and seems to be a can that we must stop kicking down the road.
You can read more about the Save Austin Now camping ban here.
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