Bill Text: TX SB987 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to prohibitions on camping in a public place; creating a criminal offense.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 4-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-04-15 - Co-author authorized [SB987 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB987-Introduced.html
  87R3773 JCG-F
 
  By: Buckingham, Bettencourt, Schwertner S.B. No. 987
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to prohibitions on camping in a public place; creating a
  criminal offense.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 48, Penal Code, is amended by adding
  Section 48.05 to read as follows:
         Sec. 48.05.  PROHIBITED CAMPING. (a)  In this section:
               (1)  "Camp" means to reside temporarily in a place,
  with shelter.
               (2)  "Shelter" includes a tent, tarpaulin, lean-to,
  sleeping bag, bedroll, blankets, or any form of shelter, other than
  clothing, designed to protect a person from weather conditions that
  threaten personal health and safety.
         (b)  A person commits an offense if the person intentionally
  or knowingly camps in a public place without the consent of the
  officer or agency having the legal duty or authority to manage the
  public place.
         (c)  The actor's intent or knowledge may be established
  through evidence of activities associated with sustaining a living
  accommodation that are conducted in a public place, including:
               (1)  cooking;
               (2)  making a fire;
               (3)  storing personal belongings for an extended
  period;
               (4)  digging; or
               (5)  sleeping.
         (d)  Consent given by an officer or agency of a political
  subdivision is not effective for purposes of Subsection (b).
         (e)  For purposes of Subsection (b), a designation made by a
  state officer or agency that an area owned and controlled by a
  political subdivision may be used for camping constitutes consent
  to camping on that property. A state officer or agency may
  designate an area as described by this subsection only if that
  designation is proposed to the officer or agency by the applicable
  political subdivision.
         (f)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
         (g)  This section does not preempt an ordinance, order, rule,
  or other regulation adopted by a state agency or political
  subdivision relating to prohibiting camping in a public place or
  affect the authority of a state agency or political subdivision to
  adopt or enforce an ordinance, order, rule, or other regulation
  relating to prohibiting camping in a public place if the ordinance,
  order, rule, or other regulation:
               (1)  is compatible with and equal to or more stringent
  than the offense prescribed by this section; or
               (2)  relates to an issue not specifically addressed by
  this section.
         SECTION 2.  Subtitle C, Title 11, Local Government Code, is
  amended by adding Chapter 364 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 364. ENFORCEMENT OF PUBLIC CAMPING BANS
         Sec. 364.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Local entity" means:
                     (A)  the governing body of a municipality or
  county;
                     (B)  an officer or employee of or a division,
  department, or other body that is part of a municipality or county,
  including a sheriff, municipal police department, municipal
  attorney, or county attorney; and
                     (C)  a district attorney or criminal district
  attorney.
               (2)  "Policy" includes a formal, written rule,
  ordinance, order, or policy and an informal, unwritten policy.
               (3)  "Public camping ban" means a law, rule, ordinance,
  order, or other regulation that prohibits camping in a public
  place, including Section 48.05, Penal Code.
         Sec. 364.002.  POLICY ON CAMPING BANS. (a)  A local entity
  may not adopt or enforce a policy under which the entity prohibits
  or discourages the enforcement of any public camping ban.
         (b)  In compliance with Subsection (a), a local entity may
  not prohibit or discourage a peace officer or prosecuting attorney
  who is employed by or otherwise under the direction or control of
  the entity from enforcing a public camping ban.
         Sec. 364.003.  INJUNCTIVE RELIEF. (a) The attorney general
  may bring an action in a district court in Travis County or in a
  county in which the principal office of the entity is located to
  enjoin a violation of Section 364.002.
         (b)  The attorney general may recover reasonable expenses
  incurred in obtaining relief under this section, including court
  costs, reasonable attorney's fees, investigative costs, witness
  fees, and deposition costs.
         Sec. 364.004.  DENIAL OF STATE GRANT FUNDS. (a) A local
  entity may not receive state grant funds, and state grant funds for
  the local entity shall be denied, for the state fiscal year
  following the year in which a final judicial determination in an
  action brought under Section 364.003 is made that the entity has
  intentionally violated Section 364.002.
         (b)  The comptroller shall adopt rules to implement this
  section uniformly among the state agencies from which state grant
  funds are distributed to a municipality or county.
         (c)  A local entity that has not violated Section 364.002 may
  not be denied state grant funds, regardless of whether the entity is
  a part of another entity that is in violation of that section.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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