Press Release from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2009
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Senate Passes Eminent Domain Reform Bill

Austin — The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 18 by State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) which provides key reforms to the state's current eminent domain laws.

"Private property and the right to own it, and profit from it, is fundamental to not only our economic liberty, but also our personal liberty," said Estes. "Senate Bill 18 provides meaningful eminent domain reform and strengthens the rights of property owners against the use of eminent domain by government or other condemning authorities," said Estes.

Senate Bill 18 provides several key revisions to current law including limiting eminent domain takings for a public use only, requiring bona fide offer before condemnation, requiring fair compensation for loss of direct access to remaining property, and ends the practice of government land speculation.

One of the key provisions involves compensating land owners for loss of access to the remainder of the property. Under Senate Bill 18, a property owner would be entitled to be compensated for any loss of market value at the time of taking due to a material impairment of direct access.

Other key provisions include authorizing property owners to construct roads over oil and gas pipeline easements with certain restrictions, and requires all entities with eminent domain authority to register with the state comptroller by December 31, 2010 or risk losing their condemnation authority.

"I am especially grateful for the hard work and cooperation of State Senator Robert Duncan, and State Senator Glenn Hegar who have been invaluable in helping craft this legislation and helping in its passage," said Estes.

Senator Estes is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and represents Senate District 30 covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Grayson, Jack, Montague, Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young counties.