Landowners chalked up a big win today at the Texas capitol as Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed SB 18, the eminent domain bill, into law. 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 3 legislative sessions. SB 18 reforms the eminent domain laws in Texas by requiring the following:
- A public and record vote to initiate eminent domain proceedings.
- 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.