8 propositions headed to Austin’s May ballot, including strong mayor, camping ban

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After a long day of discussions on Feb. 9, Austin City Council voted to approve placing eight items before voters on the May ballot, some of which are city charter amendments and others are petition-driven ordinance changes.

Finalized language for each proposition was sent out by the City of Austin on Feb. 9. Council members agreed to the following ballot order for these items.

Proposition A

This would give the Austin Firefighters Association the ability to require the City to participate in binding arbitration of all issues in dispute with the association, if the City and association reach impasse in collective bargaining negotiations.

Proposition B

This would reinstate Austin’s public camping ban. The proposition would criminalize and create a penalty for those sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk or sleeping outdoors in and near the downtown and University of Texas areas. Another penalty would be created for those camping in a public area not designated by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.

Additionally, solicitation, or requesting money at specific hours and spots in an aggressive way, will also be criminalized.

Proposition C

This would allow city council to provide for a director of police oversight who shall be appointed and removed as outlined by future ordinance. Duties would include ensuring transparency and accountability in the Austin Police Department’s policing.

Proposition D

This is a city charter amendment regarding changes to the dates of mayoral elections. This amendment would change mayoral elections from falling in gubernatorial election years to presidential election years, providing the mayor elected in 2022 will serve just a two-year term. Mayoral elections would then start on the same date as presidential elections in 2024.

Proposition E

This city charter amendment would allow for use of ranked choice voting in city elections, if it is permitted by state law.

Proposition F

This city charter amendment would change the city’s government from ‘council-manager’ to ‘strong mayor-council.’ This would eliminate the role of professional city manager and designate the mayor as the chief administrative and executive officer of the city with veto power over all legislation, including the budget.

It would also give the elected mayor authority to hire and fire most department heads and direct staff. There would also not be articulated or stated charter authority to require the mayor to implement council decisions.

Proposition G

This city charter amendment would add another geographic council district, which would result in 11 council members elected from single-member districts.

Proposition H

This city charter amendment would allow for the adoption of a public campaign finance program, which would require the city clerk to provide up to two $25 vouchers to every registered voter, who may choose to contribute them to candidates running for city office who meet program requirements.

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