SUPPORT THESE EMINENT DOMAIN BILLS NOW

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SUPPORT THESE EMINENT DOMAIN RELATED BILLS NOW TO BE HEARD TOMORROW

I am writing as tomorrow, April 25 at 8 am in room E2.012 marks the biggest day of the session where numerous eminent domain bills are going to be heard in the Land & Resource Management Committee.  More bills have been added since last week, so I have narrowed and prioritized this list.

Both the House and Senate versions of the omnibus bills SB 421 and its companion HB 991 will be heard.  Both SB421/HB991 will:

  • Provide basic easement terms to affected landowners to help ensure that their property is protected during and after construction.
  • Provide landowners with an evidence-based valuation of their property’s value along with any damages to the remainder, conducted by certified appraiser or licensed real estate broker; and
  • Requires companies to host informational meetings to present information about the project to landowners allowing for questions and company feedback.

Other bills that will be heard include Schwertner's SB 552, 553, and 555 dealing with the following topics:  survey permission, purchase of additional property should a condemnor need it, and a bill ending landowners paying property taxes on a condemnor's easement.  Should these and the omnibus bills pass out of committee and make it to the House floor, they will go to the Governor's desk.

HB 1919, HB 3327, and HB 1253 (companion to SB 554 that passed the Senate) will be heard for the first time.  These bills deal with filing complaints with the RRC; a public meeting on a pipeline with notice to a county judge, nearby counties, and the groundwater district; and the right to repurchase property.  We would like to see all three of these bills pass out of Committee for a House floor vote.  HB 1157 ensures the timing on appraisal submissions to a Special Commission are the same from both parties.

Why is this hearing so important?  Because all House bills have to be reported out of the House Committees by Monday, May 6....and we are rolling into other deadlines.

If you can come testify, this is the time to come.  Please let me know if you are.  If you can't come, then email/call/write all the committee members and tell them you support all the bills listed below.  Please ask others to do so.

Messaging:  (Personalize it with where you are from, why you are concerned, etc.)

Dear Land & Resource Management Committee Members:

 I want to encourage you to pass the following bills out of committee which will be heard tomorrow, April 25.  No significant legislation has passed regarding eminent domain since 2011.  Please support these bills in order to better protect landowners in the state of Texas.

  • Both SB421 and its companion HB991 are omnibus bills that provide standard easement information, establish a better evidence-based property valuation, and affords an informational meeting between a landowner and a condemning entity to improve the overall eminent domain process.
  • SB 552 would provide property owners additional information relating to their rights in regards to the survey of their property.
  • SB 553 would require a clearly identifiable offer for the purchase of additional property should a condemning entity need land outside the easement.
  • SB 555 ends landowners paying property taxes on a condemnor's easement if for a nonagricultural use.  
  • HB1157 ensures that the timing of appraisal submissions to a Special Commission are the same for both landowners and condemnors.
  • HB1919 allows property owners to file complaints of misconduct to the state about certain entities regulated by the Railroad Commission.
  • HB3327 requires expanded notice of a proposed oil and gas pipeline project to include the county judge, nearby counties, and the groundwater district and provides for a public meeting.

Protect Texans with an improved and fairer process in eminent domain. Lend your support to pass these bills out of committee.  Thank you for your consideration.

Name/Address/Phone

Contact information for the Land & Resource Management Committee:

Tom Craddick at 512.463.0500 or tom.craddick@house.texas.gov

Sergio Munoz at 512.463.0704 or sergio.munoz@house.texas.gov

Cecil Bell at 512.463.0650 or cecil.bell@house.texas.gov

Terry Canales at 512.463.0426 or terry.canales@house.texas.gov

Ben Leman at 512.463.0600 or ben.leman@house.texas.gov

Ina Minjarez at 512.463.0634 or ina.minjarez@house.texas.gov

Jonathan Stickland at 512.463.0522 or jonathan.stickland@house.texas.gov

Shawn Thierry  at 512.463.0518 or shawn.thierry@house.texas.gov

Thanks all, Rita Beving,
Texas Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform
214.557.2271

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