AUSTIN - Texas lawmakers should revisit the issue of eminent domain reform to protect Texas property owners announced the Property Rights Organization of Texas today.
Senate Bill 7, passed in the second called special session of the 79th Texas Legislature, sought to prevent eminent domain abuse through a statute rather than a constitutional amendment.
"While SB 7 provided a legislative fix to some of the problems created by the Kelo v. City of New London decision, these additional protections must now be made permanent by adding them to the Texas Constitution," said Nathan Rhea, executive director of the Property Rights Organization of Texas. "We are urging lawmakers to ensure the rights of hardworking Texas families and small business owners will not be left open to change in the future by a legislature unsympathetic to the rights of Texas property owners."
The Property Rights Organization of Texas (PROTexas), formed in 2005 following the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo v. City of New London decision, is a coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to limiting the eminent domain powers of cities and counties to seize the property of one citizen for the benefit of another.
"Texas was the second state to address Kelo though by statue only and we have since fallen behind as ten other states have put stronger measures before their voters," said Rhea. "In the ten states that successfully passed constitutional amendments dealing with eminent domain reform last year, citizens overwhelmingly supported adding the protections to their state constitutions. Texans should be given the same opportunity."
This session, two constitutional amendments have been filed in the Texas State House, H.J.R 11 by Rep. Frank Corte (R-San Antonio) and H.J.R 12 by Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton). On February 21, the Texas House Land and Resource Management Committee will hold a hearing on these important reforms as well as other legislation dealing with reforming eminent domain.
More information about PROTexas, and eminent domain reform, can be found at www.protexas.org.