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Manley Suggests Reinstating Bans On Camping And Resting In Public While New Rules Are Worked Out

A man sits in a homeless encampment outside the Salvation Army downtown.
Julia Reihs
A man sits in a homeless encampment outside the Salvation Army downtown.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said police are going to retool how they enforce laws that prohibit obstruction of sidewalks and public spaces and that he has asked the city to revert back to old rules on homelessness while it considers revising ordinances passed in June.

At a press conference Thursday, Manley said APD is issuing guidelines to better enforce the ordinance that bans completely obstructing a sidewalk – what used to be known as the sit-lie ordinance – specifically as it relates to access in the downtown area. 

The chief also responded to the political back-and-forth surrounding the city's decision to rollback rules that previously banned camping and resting in public. In a letter to Mayor Steve Adler on Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott threatened state intervention if "meaningful reforms are not implemented" by Nov. 1.

"Although I know it doesn't necessarily meet the political will of our mayor and Council right now, as the police chief – charged with maintaining public safety – I have suggested that we put the old ordinances back in place while we work though a final solution," he said.

Manley said he has also suggested the city ban camping and resting on all sidewalks downtown.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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