On Wednesday Feb. 9 the Senate unanimously passed the proposed Senate Bill 18 with a vote of 31-0. The bill would tighten eminent domain laws and give more freedom to landowners.
SB 18, authored by Sen. Craig Estes, was passed by the Senate last session, but was killed by the House. Officials, including Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, are using Texas citizens to further strengthen their argument this go round.
"Don't mess with Texas, and don't mess with Texas land. That's what this bill says," said Staples. "Few issues have brought Texans together like this one.”
Staples has made the issue of eminent domain his top priority. He has created a website, www.protectyourhomeandland.com, and is active on his Facebook page, encouraging Texans to sign a petition in favor of the new eminent domain laws. In fact, earlier today Staples presented the petition, with over 6,000 signatures, to the House Committee of Land and Resource Management.
Ever since the death of SB 18 in the last session, cases after cases have been released that show how the current eminent domain laws are “corrupt” and unfair to landowners.
The Texas Farm Bureau has become an advocate for changing the current laws. For the past two years, they have posted opinionated pieces as well as tragic examples on their website and blog.
Here are two examples:
With the massive support of government officials, advocacy groups and Texas citizens, as well as Gov. Rick Perry declaring eminent domain an emergency issue, the passing of SB 18 by the House seems inevitable.