A bill aimed at eminent domain reform in Texas has passed in the senate.
Senate Bill 421, filed by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, aims to provide clarity to the eminent domain process and provide protections to private property owners in the state, according to a release.
Specifically, the bill would prevent low initial offers, improve easement terms and will require meetings to ensure property owners understand the eminent domain process.
“Texans believe in the right to ‘life, liberty and property’ which is granted to us in the United States Bill of Rights,” Sen. Kolkhorst said via a statement on social media. “This bill levels the playing field between those who own property, and those who seek to use eminent domain to take that property. It is vital to treat landowners with respect, dignity and fairness.”
The Senate bill has also gained support from various groups throughout the State such as the Southwestern Cattle Raises Association, the Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas Wildlife Association.
SB 421 passed by a 28-3 vote.
Despite its success in the Senate and the groups supporting the bill, it has had some opposition.
The Texas Oil and Gas Association has shown opposition to the bill saying it could impact various industries in Texas.
“CSSB 421 is wrong for Texas because the legislation will increase litigation, slow infrastructure development and ultimately stifle state and local tax revenue,” continued TXOAG President Todd Staples wrote on March 12. “We are confident that it is possible to balance property owners’ rights with responsible infrastructure development. CSSB 421 is not the answer and we are urging defeat of the measure to make way for a proposal that will benefit all Texans.”
The TXOAG says the bill would incentivize litigation, impede growth, decrease jobs and negatively impact energy infrastructure throughout the state.
For now, the bill is headed to the House of Representatives. If passed it would be sent to the Governor’s Office for his signature.