Legislation

87th Legislative Session Priority Bills

In Texas, condemnation is an unfair process for landowners. Reform is needed to improve the transparency, fairness, and accountability for property owners.

Eminent domain reform is supported by the platforms of both the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas.

During this 87th Legislative Session, more than two dozen bills have been filed to improve the eminent domain process. Below are Texas Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform priority bills:

HB 901 Burns
Omnibus Bill Regarding Private Entities

HB 901 affects only private entities given eminent domain authority. This bill: a) provides basic easement terms to impacted property owners regarding a private entity’s project; b) provides an evidence-based valuation of a landowner’s property along with damages to the remainder conducted by a licensed real estate broker or certified appraiser; and c) adds new requirements regarding a special commissioners hearing.

SB 986 Kolkhorst
Omnibus Bill Regarding Private Entities

SB 986 affects only private entities given eminent domain authority. It a) provides basic easement terms to impacted property owners regarding a private entity’s project; b) provides an evidence-based valuation of a landowner’s property along with damages to the remainder conducted by a licensed real estate broker or certified appraiser; and c) requires entities to hold informational meetings with affected landowners on the details of a project. The bill also provides for an ombudsman to help answer landowners’ questions and requires right-of-way agents to be licensed.

HB 37 Zwiener
Transfer of Pipeline Permitting to the Public Utilities Commission

HB 37 would transfer the approval of a permit for certain intrastate oil and gas pipelines to the Public Utilities Commission from the Texas Railroad Commission. The routing of the permit must meet certain conditions and jurisdictional requirements or be denied.

SB 721 Schwertner/HB 2041 Leman
Appraisal Submissions before Special Commissioners’ Hearing

SB 721/HB 2041 state that a condemning entity shall disclose to the property owner any and all existing appraisal reports produced or acquired relating specifically to the owner’s property at least 3 days before a special commissioners’ hearing, if an appraisal report is to be used at the hearing.

SB 722 Schwertner
Appraisal Submissions to a Landowner

SB 722 provides that a condemning entity shall disclose to the property owner any and all existing appraisal reports produced or acquired relating specifically to the owner’s property in the last ten years preceding an offer. Failure to do so will make the condemner liable for attorney fees to the owner in connection with the acquisition of the property.

SSB 723 Schwertner/HB 2042 Leman
Survey Permission and Purchase of Additional Property

SB 723/HB 2042 provide property owners additional information about their rights in the negotiation of a survey and other related provisions with a condemnor. Requires a condemning entity to make a separate and clearly identifiable offer for additional land needed that is not related to property acquired through condemnation.

SB 724 Schwertner
Special Commissioners Award and Recovery of Attorney Fees

With SB 724, if damages awarded through the special commissioners’ hearing or through an appeal to the courts is 20 percent or more than the condemnor’s final offer, the condemnor shall pay all related attorney and professional fees incurred by the property owner in connection with the eminent domain proceeding.

HB 1506 Zwiener/SB 1842 Eckhardt
Disallows Quick Take of Property

Both bills are similar in language stating that if there is an objection to the award after a Special Commissioner’s hearing, then a private entity cannot take possession of the property until after 180 days of the commissioner’s award if there is pending litigation.

HB 4107 Burrows
Negotiation of Pipeline Route and Survey

This bill provides that a common carrier pipeline shall make a good faith effort to negotiate the siting of a pipeline or incidental facility on a property owner’s land. This bill also provides for the negotiation of a survey and the repair or remediation of any damages should they occur during this process.

SB 725 Schwertner/HB 2043 Leman
Property Taxes

SB 726 and HB 2043 would require that if additional property taxes are imposed due to the diversion of property for nonagricultural use, then the property taxes are the responsibility of the condemning entity, not the property owner.

HB 1879 Schofield
Right to Repurchase Property

This bill would amend the current statute to allow a landowner the right to repurchase property if the condemning entity does not meet at least three of five conditions to prove “actual progress” is being made toward the stated public use of a taking within a ten-year period.

HJR 92 Schofield
Right to Repurchase Property

This bill would also provide a landowner or his heirs the right to repurchase property if certain conditions are met through a constitutional amendment.

To learn more about bills offered during the 87th Texas Legislative Session, please visit capitol.texas.gov or write us at info@TxLEDreform.org for more information.

Bills We Currently Support

 

Multiple Issues
HB 901
SB 986

Transfer of Pipeline Permitting
HB 37

Negotiation of Pipeline Route & Survey
HB 4107

Appraisal Submissions
SB 721/HB 4021
SB 722

Special Commissioners Award and Recovery of Fees
SB 724

Survey Permission and Right to Repurchase Property
SB 723/HB 2043

Purchase of Additional Property
HB 553

Quick Take
HB 1506
SB 1842

Property Taxes
SB 725/HB 2043

Right to Repurchase Property
HB 1879
HJR 92