Quality of Life Ordinance

Proposed changes

Camping and Sleeping in Public: Amendment would "make it offense to sleep outdoors in the downtown business area (between Lamar and I-35, and between 29th and Cesar Chavez, excluding the U.T. Campus), if the person has received a warning that the behavior is prohibited."

Aggressive Solicitation: Amendment would "make it an offense to solicit between 7pm and 7am anywhere in the City, except door to door solicitations after 9am and before 9pm, and near a school or daycare facility. Restrictions are based on times or places in which the person being solicited is likely to have an enhanced fear of crime or feel concerned for the safety of children." This differs from the current amendment by criminalizing all panhandling, not solely the aggressive type, and creating new time restrictions. Also, the second sentence appears to invite selective enforcement.

Sitting or Lying Down on the Sidewalk: Amendment would "make it an offense to sit or lie down on the sidewalk, or on an architectural feature of a building, in the downtown business area, regardless of whether one is creating an obstruction [the proposal preserves the exceptions for medical emergencies, sidewalk cafes, etc.]." Under the current ordinance, sitting or lying down is prohibited only if blocking another's passage.

Roadside Solicitation: Amendment would "eliminate the area restriction so that it is a city-wide offense to solicit in or next to a street, including on a median strip, on a sidewalk, or in a private parking area where the owner has posted 'no solicitation' signs." Enlarging the area covered, from the downtown business area and two popular day labor areas to citywide, the change would also expand what is considered "roadside" from the original ordinance.

See the city's Quality of Life ordinance and more at www.ci.austin.tx.us/news/2004/quality_of_life_ordinance.htm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

city ordinance, panhandling, solicitation, quality of life

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