Bill criminalizing homelessness gets sent back to committee

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On Monday, a Texas House bill that would have prohibited camping in public places — effectively criminalizing homelessness — was knocked back down to committee. 

HB 1925 was bumped back to the House State Affairs Committee shortly after Rep. Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont) raised a point of order over the bill’s witness list. 

The point of order focused on a conserative witness, Matt Mackowiak, chairman of the Travis County GOP and co-founder of Save Austin Now, a PAC leading a campaign in Austin to ban public camping throughout the city.

In the House witness list, Mackowiak failed to disclose that he was testifying on behalf of two separate entities, educational nonprofit “Save Austin Now” and “Save Austin Now PAC.” 

The parliamentary maneuver came after several hours of debate and amendments to the bill, authored by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake). 

One notable change that passed and dampened the bill was an amendment by Speaker Pro Tempore Joe Moody (D-El Paso) ensuring that a person’s personal property is not destroyed if they violate the would-be public camping ban. 

Despite being returned to committee, the legislation still has a chance to reach the House floor again before May 10, the last day for House committees to report House bills. The last day of the 87th Session is May 31

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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