Despite the passage of House Bill 1925 during the 2021 Texas legislative session—and a years-long public safety disaster—unrestrained homeless camping is returning to Austin.
The new state law was supposed to ban public tent encampments statewide, but it clearly isn’t being enforced, even in areas where the state government has jurisdiction.
The latest photographic evidence comes from underneath State Highway 71 (also known as Ben White Boulevard), specifically at the Packsaddle Lane intersection.
The recent state law was enacted largely in response to the recent two-year crisis in Austin, where Democrat city officials legalized open camping in nearly all public spaces across the city (which sparked a wildfire of crime, public outcry, and eventual election to overturn the decision).
Yet over the past several weeks, reports have surfaced of tent cities popping up again in Austin’s public spaces, including some that Texas Scorecard recently documented. The encampments on highway right-of-ways are under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Transportation, so the Texas Department of Public Safety doesn’t need any cooperation from Austin city officials to enforce state law.
However, under Gov. Greg Abbott, the DPS has allowed this behavior to continue unimpeded.
Concerned Texans may call the office of Texas DPS director Steven McCraw at (512) 424-7771.