Eminent Domain Reform Signed Into Law
For original story, visit the Texas Farm Bureau website.
A decade-long struggle to strengthen
Texas private property rights ended successfully this week as
Senate Bill 18, the eminent domain reform bill, became law.
Governor Rick Perry will ceremonially sign the bill at the state
capitol on Monday, May 23.
"Congratulations, Texas. Eminent domain
has been reformed!" said Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth
The reform of Texas eminent domain laws
has been the top priority of Texas Farm Bureau for three
legislative sessions, Dierschke said. In 2007, the bill passed
overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate before being vetoed. In
2009, it passed overwhelmingly in the Senate before being held up
in a legislative logjam.
"This legislation is a solution to the
unfair treatment many property owners have been subjected to in the
condemnation process," Dierschke said. "The take-it-or-leave-it
attitude displayed by some condemning authorities will be replaced
by good faith and cooperation.
"Equally important, with this passage
of Senate Bill 18, farmers and ranchers have extended the respect
they have for the land and private property rights to the laws of
the State of Texas."
With the signature of the governor,
this important private property rights legislation assures
- • Private property can be acquired only for a public purpose,
not for private benefit.
- • Condemning entities must make a good faith offer before the
beginning of the condemnation process.
- • Property owners will have a stronger voice in determining who
decides what damages are owed if condemnation proceedings
- • Property owners will be compensated for damages from a loss
of direct access to their property and receive relocation
assistance when forced from their property.
- • Property owners-under certain conditions-will have the right
to repurchase their property at the original value after 10
"All Texans will benefit from this new
law which ensures a fair and open process for landowners when
eminent domain is exercised for the public good," Dierschke said.
"There are so many people to thank: Gov. Rick Perry, who designated
eminent domain as an emergency item and who signed the bill; Sen.
Craig Estes, the author; Rep. Charlie Geren, who shepherded it
through the House; Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, an ardent
supporter of reform; Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe
Straus and House Land and Resource Management Committee Chair Rene
Oliveira for guiding this important bill through the legislative
process; and all the legislators who kept eminent domain reform a
legislative priority for three sessions and the new lawmakers who
came on board."