It is a great day in our grand state. In Texas, our home is our castle and our land is our legacy. Legislators in the House reaffirmed that belief today when they passed SB 18, which establishes eminent domain reform for Texas home and landowners. Earlier this session, the Senate approved the bill.
SB 18, authored by Sen. Craig Estes and Sen. Robert Duncan, enforces what the Texas Constitution guarantees – private property owners will be protected from intrusive condemnation proceedings. Among other things, the bill says property may only be taken for a public good and that negotiations must be made in good faith, meaning a condemning entity cannot try to shortchange property owners in offering just compensation. SB 18 also includes a buy-back provision for property owners if progress has not been made on the public project in 10 years. It also requires all entities with the power of eminent domain to register with the state or risk having that power suspended.
I have long been a proponent of legislation that guarantees Texas private property owners are treated fairly and that entities with eminent domain power act responsibly. After years of setbacks, Texans will finally have won the hard-fought private property owners’ rights battle once SB 18 is signed into law.
Don’t mess with Texas, and don’t mess with Texas land. That’s what this bill says.