“Turning Austin into San Francisco…is not an improvement,” Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz told Austin’s Democrat Mayor Steve Adler Monday, in response to Adler’s objection to a new bill (S.B. 987) that would outlaw unauthorized camping on public property.
“#SB987, which will be heard today in #TXLege, would criminalize being homeless, perpetuating the homelessness/criminal justice cycle,” Mayor Adler claimed in an early Monday morning tweet. The bill, Adler said, would also “make it harder for persons experiencing homelessness to access services.”
“Contact these committee members and ask them to vote no,” Mayor Adler urged.
“Turning Austin into San Francisco—with an aggressive, violent homeless population doing drugs and defecating in the streets—is not an improvement,” Sen. Cruz replied to Adler’s post.
Indeed, San Francisco has suffered the highest rate of exodus of any major U.S. city over the last two years, The Blaze reports:
“Of all the major U.S. cities, the home to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) topped the charts for losing the most residents in 2019 and 2020, according to a study conducted by the CBRE Group, a Dallas-based commercial realty firm.
“The study found that in 2020, a whopping 18 residents per 1,000 left the city, doubling 2019's rate of 9 residents per 1,000.”
The Texas bill would make it a Class C misdemeanor to illegally camp on public property:
“A person commits an offense if the person 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.”
The bill says that activities such as cooking, sleeping and storing personal belongings may be construed as evidence that a person has set up home on public property:
“The actor's intent or knowledge may be established through evidence of activities associated with sustaining a living accommodation that are conducted in a public place, including:
(2) making a fire;
(3) storing personal belongings for an extended
(4) digging; or