No Sit/No Lie Ordinace Passed by Austin Council

Mar 3, 2011

The City Council has unanimously approved what it calls an improvement to an existing ordinance that  prohibits people from sitting and lying in sidewalks and in front of buildings.

The ordinance will become effective starting on the 1st of May.

Opponents pointed out that the ordinance did not provide exemptions in instances of extreme weather. Richard Troxell, who heads House the Homeless, called it a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

His main concern is that the ordinance exempts people with physical disabilities, but does not take into account those with mental diseases.

He said the majority of homeless people are suffering from mental illness.  But they have been ignored because they seem okay. Troxell said,  "If the police officer cannot observe a missing body part," they would write a ticket.

Council member Randi Shade clarified that the ordinance says "physical manifestation is not limited to visual observation."