2009-06-04 / General Stories

Texas Farm Bureau President Encourages House to Hear Eminent Domain Reform Bill

WACO - The president of Texas' largest farm organization called on the Texas House leadership to suspend the rules so that Senate Bill 18, the eminent domain reform bill, could be heard in the House.

"Eminent domain reform passed the Senate unanimously and has widespread support throughout the state," said Texas Farm Bureau president Kenneth Dierschke. "The farmers, ranchers and other real property owners of Texas will be deeply disappointed if this can not be worked out."

S.B. 18, sponsored by Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), is a casualty of the controversy surrounding the voter identification bill. The Texas Farm Bureau, one of the leading proponents of eminent domain reform, expressed "deep disappointment" that this vital legislation has not been heard in the House.

Dierschke held out faint hope that the eminent domain reform package could be salvaged here in the legislative session's final days. The House could yet act by suspending the rule that requires all Senate bills to be heard in the House by midnight, yesterday. Failing that, Governor Rick Perry could add the issue to an expected call for a special session.

"We encourage any parliamentary device that could allow the important legislation to be heard," Dierschke said. "If that doesn't work, we certainly hope that Governor Perry would add it to a call in a special session. Two more years of unfair and questionable actions in taking private property is too long."

Dierschke said that property owners have little recourse under current eminent domain law since two Texas Supreme Court rulings. The first of those rulings denied compensation for diminished access to property. The second eliminated the requirement of a good faith offer.

"For some time now, Texas has been pretending to be a property rights state," he said. "In fact, we have one of the worst eminent domain laws in the nation."

The Texas Farm Bureau works to provide a voice for Texas farmers, ranchers, rural citizens and everyone interested in preserving and protecting this way of life. More on the Web at: Texas Farm Bureau website www.txfb.org. TFB is also on Twitter and Facebook.

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