Texas Legislative Session Issue Update: Eminent Domain Reform

June 8, 2011

Dear Friend:

One of the major victories of the recently concluded legislative session was SB 18, the eminent domain reform bill. This bill implements some very important protections for Texas landowners and strengthens private property rights.

Here are a few of the highlights of the bill:

  • Previously there was ambiguity in Texas law that allowed governmental entities to use eminent domain to take private land for a “public purpose”. With the help of other conservative legislators, I was able to amend the statute changing “public purpose” to “public use”, which conforms the statute to the Texas and U.S. constitutions. We believe this will further ensure that eminent domain is only used as envisioned in our Constitution.
  • Requires government entities to make bona fide, good faith offers to landowners
  • Requires fair compensation for loss of access to property
  • Ends government land speculation by allowing property owners to re-purchase their land at the price paid to the owner if the governmental entity has made no actual progress on the public use project after 10 years

SB 18 was signed by the Governor on May 19 and will become effective on September 1 of this year.

It is a pleasure to serve you in the Texas Legislature.

Thank you,

Phil King
State Representative