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Relating to prohibitions on camping in a public place; creating a criminal offense.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1925 would create a Class C misdemeanor offense of prohibited camping. This bill is an attempt to gain control over the chaos caused by homeless camping in certain Texas cities.
HB 1925 would establish that a person who intentionally or knowingly camps in a public place without the consent of the officer or agency having the legal duty or authority to manage the public place is subject to a Class C misdemeanor. The bill defines certain activities as evidence of a person intentionally or knowingly camping in a public place, such as cooking, starting fires or storing belongings for an extended period of time.
The bill would also prohibit a local government entity from adopting or enforcing a policy that inhibits the enforcement of a public camping ban. A local government entity which violates the stipulations of this bill will be denied access to state grant funds and can be sued by the Attorney General for injunctive relief. A local entity which has not violated the stipulations of this bill can't be denied state funding even if it is part of an entity which is in violation of this bill.
Texas Action supports HB 1925 because it improves the government's ability to carry out its lawful duties without infringing on the rights of citizens. Uncontrolled homeless camping has lead to a rise in crime and put everyday Texans at risk.