From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
July 6, 2005
Contact: Bill Bragg - (512) 463-0124


AUSTIN - State Senator Troy Fraser (R- Horseshoe Bay) voted on Wednesday, July 6th, to ensure that private property owners are protected in Texas. Senate Bill 62 by Senator Kyle Janek (R-Houston) would prevent the taking of private property by a government entity for economic development purposes.

"This is an issue we cannot ignore," said Senator Fraser after the hearing. "We must make sure that our laws protect private property owners, because property rights are one of the foundations of our American society."

Senate Bill 62 was filed in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision which many argue essentially rewrote the Public Use Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The decision ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses, against their will for private economic development. The 5-4 ruling was a defeat for local Connecticut residents whose property is located in an area that has been slated for the construction of an office building. The residents argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with clear public use such as roads or schools.

The bill passed out of the Senate Committee on State Affairs by a vote of seven to zero and could be heard by the full Senate in the next two weeks. Although the 30-day session was called to deal with school finance matters, legislators can file legislation and hold committee hearings on other issues. Legislation that has already been filed and considered in a public hearing will be a step ahead in the legislative process, if Governor Perry decides to add those additional issues to the call. The Governor has indicated that he will consider adding new issues to the special session call if the Legislature reaches a final resolution on school finance.