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Homeless residents gather an at a camp under an overpass in South Austin. (Jordan Vonderhaar)

As Austin navigates its homelessness crisis, city voters will decide starting Monday whether to reinstate a ban on sitting, lying and camping in certain areas of the city. Proposition B has drawn impassioned support and opposition and is perhaps the most contentious item on the May 1 ballot.

Austonia received editorials from both sides of the debate. Arguing in favor of Prop B is Cleo Petricek, a Democrat and co-founder, along with Travis County GOP Chairperson Matt Mackowiak, of the Save Austin Now political action committee, which has led the charge to reinstate the camping ban. Opponent Emily Seales is a licensed clinical social worker and advocate with over 20 years of experience working and volunteering in homeless services in Austin and around the country. She is currently on staff at the Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center and is board co-chair of Open Door.

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Homeless residents have set up tents on Cesar Chavez Street near the historic Buford Tower, which caught fire earlier this month after a blaze spread from the neighboring camp. (Emma Freer)

Starting Monday, Austin voters will decide whether to reinstate a ban on sitting, lying and camping in certain areas of the city. Proposition B is one of eight proposed city code or charter amendments on the May 1 ballot, but it is perhaps the most contentious.

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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.

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(Bob Daemmrich)

Austin voters will determine the fates of eight propositions during the upcoming May 1 election. Each proposes to amend the city charter in ways big and small. Two in particular have garnered attention and controversy.

If passed, Proposition B would reinstate a ban on public camping that Austin City Council lifted in 2019 and Proposition F would shift the city government from a strong-manager system to a strong-mayor one. The other six propositions also have far-reaching implications for how the city is run, from police oversight to campaign finance reform.

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