Senator Bob Deuell
Texas Senate, District 2
P.O. Box 12068 Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711

June 28, 2005
CONTACT: Don T. Forse, Jr.
(512) 463-0102

Deuell Files Bill to Protect Private Property Rights

- Responding to recent Supreme Court Decision -

(Austin) On the heels of a controversial Supreme Court ruling that would allow the seizure of private property for economic development purposes, State Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) filed legislation today aimed at amending the Texas Constitution to prevent such actions.

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court in Kelo et al v. City of New London stated that governmental agencies have the right to use their eminent domain powers for economic development purposes even if the concerned property isn't blighted. Contained in the decision is the authority for states to restrict the use of eminent domain, as written by Justice John Paul Stevens.

"States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened," Stevens said.

Sen. Deuell's bill (Senate Joint Resolution 10) would allow Texas to utilize this authority. It proposes a constitutional amendment to prohibit a political subdivision from taking private property for the primary purpose of economic development and would put the measure on the November Constitutional Amendment ballot.

At a press conference held today at the State Capitol to unveil the House Companion bill, House Joint Resolution 19 by Rep. Frank Corte of San Antonio, Deuell joined a large bi-partisan group of Representatives and Senators speaking on behalf of the bill.

"I'm very torn by the Supreme Court's decision because I believe in obeying our laws and as an elected official I have taken an oath to uphold our laws," Deuell said. "We are a nation of laws, and that is what has made us unique in world history. But sometimes there are decisions made in the courts that you know are just absolutely wrong, and we have to do all we can to address this situation."

"I think it starts with a Constitutional Amendment in our Texas Constitution to protect private property rights," Deuell said. "From that point we can develop legislation that will allow as much due process as possible for citizens until we can overcome this at a national level."

"When I was through my district over the weekend, and I traveled a lot of miles and went to a lot of places, all of the questions I got were about this Supreme Court decision," Deuell said. "In my opinion it is in direct conflict with our Constitution, and we need to send a strong message that this is not proper to do."

"I appreciate Rep. Corte filing this legislation in the House and I am proud to file it in the Senate," Deuell said. "And I appreciate all the State Representatives and State Senators who are here to support it."

Senator Deuell is joined by fellow Senators Jeff Wentworth and Jane Nelson in authoring SJR 10.