Austin City Council to address language gaps from text to 911, tenants’ rights this week

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Council meets Thursday at City Hall. Here’s some of what we’re looking at.

Filling in 911 language gaps: Approved

Council members ordered the city manager to secure the text-to-911 translation technology and return it to the council within six months.

“Approval of this item will help fill a critical gap for individuals who speak a language other than English and are unable to use a telephone call during an emergency,” Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, who sponsored the resolution, said on Twitter.

Text-to-911 was made available through the Metropolitan Area Council of Governments in 2017, according to KXAN’s previous report.

Examples of when texting 911 would be helpful include:

  • The caller is unable to speak due to a threat, illness or medical condition
  • The caller has poor reception and can only send text messages
  • Phone lines and cell towers are congested and only text messages can get through

The service is also useful for victims of kidnapping, sexual assault or abuse.

Tenants’ rights

The Austin City Council is once again trying to help people dealing with landlord issues. On the agenda this week: a vote to codify tenants’ right to organize without fear of retaliation and another that protects tenants’ right to “heal.”

“It would require landlords to provide a period to correct or ‘cure’ a lease violation before facing harsh penalties such as eviction,” Council Member Vanessa Fuentes said on Twitter.

Lindsey Haynes, director of Metric Property Management, agreed that tenants should have resources — after all, landlords don’t want to evict people who pay rent — but she also said the right to organize is already protected in Texas.

“But additional protections that eliminate or could complicate some of the protections that landlords have to enforce the contract later are the problem,” she explained, saying that landlords would prefer that tenants come to them with their concerns , rather than going door to door, which may bother other tenants.

Other subjects

Approved: The City of Austin approved a settlement with Jose Herrera. Although the agenda documents don’t specify what, KXAN previously reported that a man by the same name was shot with a deadly weapon by an Austin police officer during protests in 2020 and suffered “serious bodily injuries” as a result. damage’.

Austin City Council members will also have an executive session to discuss legal issues related to labor negotiations, according to a specially convened meeting agenda. The discussion will be held behind closed doors.

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