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A homeless camp has formed on Cesar Chavez Street along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail in downtown Austin. (Emma Freer)

Texas lawmakers will consider a bill that would establish a statewide ban on public camping on Monday.

State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, filed the partisan bill last month. In her statement of intent, she claimed that homeless camps have led to a rise in property crimes and drug use, present a health hazard, are detrimental to economic development and business activities, strain law enforcement and incentivize homeless people to remain homeless. The Texas Senate Committee on Local Control will conduct a public hearing on State Bill 987 as the issue has reached a fever pitch in Austin.

Meanwhile, Austin leaders recently kicked off a summit to address unsheltered homelessness. A recent spate of fires at local homeless camps has intensified the debate between homeless advocates and those in support of such a ban. Starting next week, Austin voters will be able to vote on Proposition B, which proposes to reinstate a ban on public camping in certain areas of the city.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued a statement on Monday in opposition to the bill, comparing it to the local proposition. "This bill, like Proposition B, offers no help and no solution," he said, in part. "We can and must do better to get people out of tents, not merely to move their tents out of sight."

In a statement shared with KVUE, Gov. Greg Abbott responded to SB 987 and another similar legislative proposal, House Bill 1925, directly: "These pieces of legislation provide a uniform policy for the entire state that will hold cities accountable to develop meaningful and compassionate long-term solutions to support those experiencing homelessness."


Akins Early College High School, 10701 S. 1st St., is on lockdown as district police investigate a report of an "armed subject," Austin ISD Police Chief Ashley Gonzalez tweeted at 10:11 a.m. Wednesday.

Students and staff are safe, Gonzalez tweeted. Parents are asked to refrain from going to campus.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

(File photo)

The Taylor Police Department is investigating an apparent murder-suicide that left four people dead on Tuesday.

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Austin native Samuel Grey Horse is giving love back to his community in the form of horses, music and positive energy. (Sam Grey Horse/Instagram)

No matter how long you’ve been in Austin, Samuel Grey Horse has probably been here longer than you and the spirit of his indigenous ancestors walked the land far before anyone living did. Born and raised in the capital city in 1961, the city has grown and changed all around him.

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