Texas lawmakers are considering banning homeless encampments statewide, citing health and safety complaints and effectively overruling an Austin city ordinance allowing tent cities. The proposed bills will make camping a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $500. Advocates, practitioners, and Democratic lawmakers are staunchly against the proposal. “Banning people from sleeping or sitting down in public won’t help them find housing; it’ll just further ostracize them from our community because they can’t afford rent,” said Matthew Mollica, executive editor at Austin’s Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. “Any cut in that funding would be substantial, and it would really weaken our efforts to end homelessness,” noted Eric Samuels, president and CEO of the Texas Homeless Network.