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AUSTIN— A broad coalition of organizations and landowners from across Texas and the United States are hailing members of the House Land and Resource Management Committee for protecting the property rights of Texans. Monday evening, Committee Chairman Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) left the bill pending in committee, asking stakeholders to submit amendments in order to improve the language of the bill.
“This is a victory for landowners, property rights and all Texans,” said Melissa Cubria, Advocate, Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) and leading member of the coalition. “We commend the House Committee for their work to secure genuine property rights reform in Texas. We also commend TexPIRG members for sending approximately 500 emails to their State Representatives districts.
“As currently written, SB 18 fails to adequately define critical public protections while including pages upon pages of excessive legalese. Terms like “public use,” and “public purpose” are too broad and left open to arbitrary interpretation. Private corporations could condemn a landowner’s property, build a private toll road and claim that they did so in the name of public use. After all, the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) was packaged as a “Community Development Association.”
“The Chairman wants to know whether or not to press for changing the current broad language from taking land simply for "public purpose" to "public use" , but we will press for the tighter standard of "public necessity." We want the strictest criteria and that will continue to be our simple message.
“Again, we thank TexPIRG members, coalition partners, Chairman Oliveira and all members of the House Land and Resource Management Committee for standing up to the special interests and for taking the steps necessary to achieve true eminent domain reform for Texans.”
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