Jourdanton – About 95 percent of the land in Texas is privately owned, and it’s a prime target in a state with a strong appetite for new development. It’s time Texas landowners receive a fair offer, transparency in the process and a level playing field when an entity decides to take their land for the good of the public, Atascosa County Farm Bureau President Pete Pawelek said.
“High stakes negotiations and lowball offers occur too often during eminent domain proceedings in Texas,” President Pawelek said. “The current law favors for-profit companies, giving landowners few options in a fight for their property.”
In a state with a booming population, roads and other infrastructure are needed. The practice of eminent domain is used when the government or a private entity seizes land for public projects.
“Eminent domain is a necessary evil, but it should always be used as a last resort,” President Pawelek said. “We need to provide better balance and not allow condemning entities to take advantage in an unequal bargaining process.”
Over the years, Texas farmers and ranchers have testified before several House and Senate committees to express the unfair process of eminent domain law in the state.
“Eminent domain use is on the rise as Texas’ population grows,” President Pawelek said. “Reform needs to pass in the upcoming legislative session in order to protect landowners across the state by ensuring they receive a fair price for their land when it is taken and help ensure the process is transparent.”
Legislation will be introduced in the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature to protect private property rights of Texans against abusive practices. Private corporations who use the government-sponsored power of eminent domain is of particular concern.
Texans for Property Rights – a coalition of organizations including Texas Farm Bureau, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and Texas Wildlife Association, provides a forum for property owners and landowner organizations to share information and resources related to property rights.
The Texans for Property Rights website is a central collection point for stories and concerns about abuse of eminent domain. Texas landowners are encouraged to share their stories and lend their voices to fight for achieving eminent domain fairness.
To learn more about Texans for Property Rights, visit www.texansfo rpropertyrights.com.
Follow the status of the issue during the legislative session in 2019 on www.texasfarmbureau.org.