AUSTIN - Landowners considered it a big win Monday at the Texas Capitol as Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed SB 18, the eminent domain bill, into law. A public and record vote to initiate eminent domain proceedings.
Gov. Perry was joined by Joe Parker Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) and Dave Scott, immediate past president of TSCRA.
Eminent domain reform has been a top priority of TSCRA for the past three legislative sessions.
"Today is a proud day for Texas landowners," said Parker. "After years of hard work, Texas has new eminent domain law that will protect the private property rights of Texans; something TSCRA has been working toward for a very long time.
"TSCRA would like to thank the Texas Legislature, Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, and all who worked hard to ensure this bill become law," said Parker.
SB 18 reforms the eminent domain laws in Texas by requiring the following:
Private property can be condemned only for public use, not private use.
All entities with eminent domain authority must register with the Comptroller by December 2012.
Condemning entities must make a bona fide offer in writing and if not, pay the landowner's expenses and attorney fees.
Landowners will be compensated for damages from a loss of direct access to their property. Landowners will receive relocation assistance when forced to move off of their property.
Under certain conditions, landowners will have the right to repurchase their condemned land at the original price if it is not used for the public use it was condemned for within 10 years.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 134-year-old trade organization representing more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 51.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma.