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Save Austin Now petition validated

Friday, February 5, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

A ballot initiative that seeks to reinstate the city’s ban on camping in public places will likely go before voters on May 1. On Thursday the city clerk verified the validity of the petition submitted by the nonprofit group Save Austin Now, which turned in 27,000 signatures last month. The petition needed 20,000 valid signatures to make it onto the ballot. The push for reinstatement of the camping ban and prohibition of sitting and lying down in most public places is Save Austin Now’s attempt to alter the city’s management of a growing homeless population. The ordinance changes approved by City Council in mid-2019 were seen as a way to decriminalize homelessness, launching a still-hot-button debate over the presence of homeless encampments in various parts of the city. Save Austin Now attempted to put the issue before voters last year but the clerk’s office found that petition lacked enough valid signatures. The next administrative step for the effort will give Council the option – by Feb. 12 – to adopt the proposed action without an election or call for the election. The issue is expected to be discussed at a special Council meeting on Feb. 9.

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