Gov. Perry Expands Call of Special Session to Protect Private Property Rights
Asks Lawmakers to Shield Texans from Effects of Supreme Court Ruling
Gov. Rick Perry today expanded the call of the special legislative session to include legislation that limits government's ability to take property from private owners through eminent domain. The U.S. Supreme Court recently set a new legal precedent that allows government entities to seize private property for economic development purposes.
"Today I am expanding the call of the special legislative session and asking lawmakers to take swift action to protect the private property rights of every Texan," Perry said. "The Supreme Court's ruling would allow government to condemn your family's home, bulldoze it and build a new shopping mall or some other kind of economic development project simply to generate more tax revenue. I stand with an overwhelming majority of lawmakers and citizens who believe that this starts us down a slippery slope that will lead to the erosion of Texans' rights.
"I support an amendment to the Texas Constitution because, by definition, the constitution is intended to protect the people from arbitrary acts by government that infringe on their basic rights. One of the most basic rights in Texas is the right to own property, and government shouldn't be able to take that away to pad its tax coffers."
Gov. Perry's specific message allows lawmakers to consider "legislation relating to limiting the use of eminent domain to take private property for private parties or economic development purposes."
The Texas Constitution authorizes the governor to set the agenda during a special session of the legislature. The governor called lawmakers into special session beginning June 21, and has asked them to consider school finance, education reform and property tax relief legislation.
Legislation has already been filed in the Texas House and Senate that addresses the eminent domain issue. Today's action was required for lawmakers to have the authority to pass such legislation.
"I have expanded the purpose of this special session because this recent decision by the Supreme Court requires immediate action. We don't need to study this issue, we need to act, and I believe this legislature will," Perry said.