Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Texas Governor Rick Perry Proposes Amendment to Further Protect Private Property

Many people will remember the infamous Kelo ruling by the Supreme Court in 2005. The 5-4 decision allowed for local officials to condemn homes in poorer neighborhoods for private development as a possible way of boosting taxes revenue and improving the economy. Since then, advocates for private property rights have been fighting in state houses across the country to put protections in place for those who do not want to lose their homes or front yards to the government's desired purposes. One of the first states to fight the Supreme Court decision was our beloved State of Texas, with a 2005 law that would bar the acquistion of private property for public use. Now, Texas Governor Rick Perry wants to strengthen this existing law with a new constitutional amendment that he proposed. The governor wants to forbid taking land for nonpublic uses through condemnation proceedings. The question is, will this amendment go far enough for some Texas voters?

Some groups, including the Texas Farm Bureau, criticize the fact that Perry's proposal does not address the problem of compensation for "diminished access," which has been a hotly debated issue since the initial legislation was passed four years ago. As state law now stands, property owners can be compensated for diminished access if condemnation proceedings result in a significant decrease in the owner's access to roadways. The Farm Bureau is one organization that believes home and business owners should be compensated for any lessening of road access, and want the proposed amendment to include this financial piece. Governor Perry maintains that such a law would be expensive to taxpayers, who would be forced to compensate property owners whose diminished access is minimal.

At Bertolino LLP, we have Austin eminent domain attorneys, Houston imminent domain attorneys, and San Antonio eminent domain attorneys who specialize in eminent domain issues. In addition to seeking maximum recovery for property taken in eminent domain proceedings, our eminent domain attorneys seek recovery for any damage to a client's business or remaining land. If you are a home or business owner who is facing the possibility of the government taking of your property, we can work with you to make sure you are receiving the settlement that you deserve. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today if you have any questions about how these laws may affect you.

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