Eminent domain bill moves out of Senate committee


By Julie Tomascik

In an 8-0 vote, SB 421 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst was reported out of committee as substituted on Monday, March 10. The amended bill must pass the full Senate.

“The amended bill still provides additional protections and transparency in the state’s eminent domain process,” Marissa Patton, Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) associate legislative director, said. “It addresses standard protections in easement terms, a requirement for property owner meetings and making a fair offer to property owners.”

The committee substitute, CSSB 421, can be found here.

“We’ve reached some compromises during negotiations between landowner groups and property takers that are outlined in the amended bill,” Patton said.

TFB is one of several agricultural and landowner groups pushing for eminent domain reform this legislative session.

About 95 percent of Texas is privately-owned, and landowners deserve fairness, accountability and transparency when their land is taken using eminent domain, Patton noted.

“This legislation provides meaningful changes to the current eminent domain process. It will provide the property owner with more information about the project, their rights and how the entity determined fair compensation,” Patton said. “It provides easement terms that protects the use of their property by the private entity, and it improves how fair compensation is determined as compared to current law.”

The full Senate could vote on CCSB 421 as early as this week.

The companion bill, HB 991 by Rep. DeWayne Burns, was referred to the House Land and Resource Management Committee.
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