The Austin Chronicle


July 5, 2019, News

Homelessness Is Not a Crime: Starting on Monday, July 1, new rules governing street behavior went into effect across the city. Now "aggressive solicitation" is criminalized, not simple panhandling. Sitting, lying, and camping are now permitted in public places, as long as doing so does not cause an obstruction or present material danger. Camping in public parks and on private property remains illegal, despite what local TV news might imply on social media.

Please Scoot Safely: The city's new scooter regulations also went into effect on Monday. If you hop on an electric scooter, remember these rules: Riders under 18 must wear a helmet; mobile devices are only allowed if used hands-free; one rider per scooter; park scooters responsibly; and most importantly, you can ride on the sidewalk, but must do so in a "reasonable and prudent manner." Don't be unreasonable.

New Housing Grant: Mayor Steve Adler isn't returning from Hawaii empty handed; while at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Honolulu, Adler announced Austin had received from the group a $100,000 grant aimed at preserving affordable housing for working families. The money will be managed by the Austin Housing Conservancy Fund, and it will be mostly used to protect aging apartment complexes from being swooped up by new owners intending to renovate the units and raise prices.

End the Abuse: The now-notorious visit on Monday to the El Paso and Clint Border Patrol stations by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus – chaired by Joaquin Castro and including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – was also joined by a number of Texas lawmakers, including Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, who signed the joint letter demanding the Department of Homeland Security end the abuse of children and families. Video recordings made surreptitiously by Castro of the horrifying conditions have added yet more fuel to the fire. See more online.

Abortion's Still Legal, Y'all: Hitting back at the all-male City Council decision to outlaw abortion, reproductive health advocacy groups have planted two billboards in Waskom, Texas defending abortion rights. The signs, put up by NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, read "Abortion is Freedom" and direct people to

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