Homeless Camping Ban, Anti-Critical 'Race Theory’ Bills Signed Into Law by Gov. Abbott

Schools cannot teach that “an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of their race or sex.”​​​​​​​

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — Gov. Greg Abbott signed two bills into law that legislators passed to protect Texas against the far-left Democrat's national push to enact a "Culture of Wokeism," effectively banning both homeless encampments on public property in Texas and abolishing the teaching of "Critical Race Theory" in Texas classrooms.

House Bill 1925, authored by State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (right, R-Keller,) makes camping in unapproved public places a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. The bill included provisions making clear the law will serve as a minimum threshold for local governments, which can approve stricter standards if called for by local residents.
  • Cities are also banned from using public parks as camp sites unless approved by the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs
  • The bill makes it illegal to set up shelter or store belongings for an extended period of time withgout being subject to citation for a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
  • The bill also makes it illegal for cities to adopt policies that effectively legalize public encampments, as did the City of Austin in 2019.
Abbott has long been a staunch critic of the Austin City Council's decision to roll back criminal penalties for behavior related to homelessness, warning those Texas cities encouraging the practice of homeless camping they could be subject to property tax freezes and more should voters prevail in showing their disapproval of the city council's policies.

Abbott called for such legislation at the beginning of the Legislative Session in January.

On May 1st, Austinites voted by a 58%-to-42% bipartisan margin to reinstate bans on public camping, as well as to enforce limitations on panhandling and where people can rest in public. The measure, known as Proposition B, came after a city-side signature drive and ballot initiative organized by the bipartisan "Save Austin Now" organization.

The new state law requires Law Enforcement Officers to make a reasonable effort to direct the homeless campers toward medical or mental health services and shelters before ticketing them.

State lawmakers included $12.5 million annually in the state's two-year budget for health programs to assist people who are homeless.

The law also limits cities from using parkland for temporary encampments. That provision was added by Republican State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (left,) whose district runs from the suburbs of northwest Austin and runs into westward the Texas Hill Country.

City of Austin staff had initially offered a list of 45 potential campsites following voter approval of the May 1st inititive, but that list was met with liberal pushback that whittled the still-under-revision list of possible sites down to just one location, as City of Austin staff is requesting additional direction from council council to meet their considerations.

Gov. Abbott Signs ‘Anti-Critical Race Theory’ Bill into Law

"House Bill 3979 is a strong move to abolish critical race theory in Texas, but more must be done. The issue will be added to a special session agenda," said Gov. Abbott, announcing earlier this week that he had signed the bill that now becomes Texas law and goes into effect September 1st, 2021.

With Abbott's signature, Texas on Tuesday became the latest state to bar certain concepts related to race and racism from being discussed in the classroom.

The bill’s author, State Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands,) convinced his Texas House colleagues the legislation was necessary “at a time when racial tensions are at a boiling point,” saying during floor debate  that “We don’t need to burden our kids with guilt for racial crimes they had nothing to do with.”
Toth's legislation specifies schools cannot teach that “an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual ’s race or sex.”

Further, the bill states schools cannot “require an understanding of The 1619 Project,” which was published in The New York Times Magazine with great and continued criticism due to its inacurrate investigation of the history of slavery and race relations in the United States.

Parents have been captured in viral videos from across the nation testifying before their local school boards, voicing stronly-worded objections to what they describe as "the anti-American indoctrination" of their children.

As Abbott's comments when signing the bill indicate, parents, educators and civics advocates from both sides will now wait to have further action taken by the Texas Legislature, or watch as the bill is translated into application by the Texas State Board of Education for use in history and social studies classrooms – not to mention the possible liberal legal organization's promises of legal challenges to strike  down the law.