Protecting private property rights/addressing eminent domain issues is among the emergency items declared by Governor Perry for the 82nd Legislative Session. SB 18 by Sens. Estes/Duncan and sponsor Rep. Geren, relating to the use of eminent domain authority, unanimously passed the full Senate and House Committee on Land and Resource Management as substituted. Yesterday, the House took up SB 18, which makes changes and additions to current state law in an attempt to reform various aspects of the power of eminent domain and condemnation in Texas. SB 18 revises the standard for the use of eminent domain and creates protections for private property owners such as limiting eminent domain taking for public use only, requiring government entities to make bona fide offers, and requiring fair compensation for loss of access and expenses.

10 House floor amendments were adopted and SB 18 passed to third reading with 148 ayes and 0 nays.

Gov. Rick Perry issued the following statement in regards to the House vote on SB 18:

“Property ownership is an essential freedom for Texans and an important part of fulfilling the American dream. I applaud Sen. Estes and Rep. Geren for their work on this issue, and commend the Texas House for passing SB 18, which will help further protect property owners by strengthening our eminent domain laws. I look forward to seeing this important legislation reach my desk.”