Senate Bill 7 Prohibits Seizure of Property for Private Ventures
Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law Senate Bill 7, which will protect Texans against government entities that may want to seize their private property on behalf of other private ventures that may be more lucrative.
"These projects, often in the name of economic development, should not come at the expense of people's private property rights," Perry said.
"There is no bigger supporter of economic development than I. But I draw the line when government begins to pick winners and losers among competing private interests, and the loser is the poor Texan who owns the land to begin with."
Perry praised state Sen. Kyle Janek and Rep. Beverly Woolley of Houston, and Rep. Frank Corte of San Antonio for their leadership roles in passing the legislation.
"The legislation I am proud to sign today means mom and pop businesses and residential property must be willingly sold - not unfairly seized - when a project's purpose is private profit-making," Perry said.
Perry noted that Senate Bill 7 also establishes a commission to further study the eminent domain issue during the legislative interim because this area of the law likely will be subject to great debate and scrutiny going.
Perry opened the call of the recent special session to the issue of eminent domain after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanded the right of government entities to use their powers of eminent domain to seize private property to allow another private entity to develop the property for economic development purposes.
Perry said government must wield its powers of eminent domain "only when property is vital to achieving a compelling public good," such as in the construction of schools, public roads and utility lines.
"Eminent domain for public use is a necessary power," Perry said. "Eminent domain for private use is a great threat to Texans' rights."