YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Finish the job on eminent domain reform
By Gene Hall
Fairness, in life and in our legal system, is often difficult to achieve. Eminent domain laws in Texas are a perfect example. It’s hard to argue that there are no legitimate public needs to take private property. Call it a necessary evil–sometimes necessary, always evil. But, when that property is taken by a government or a corporation without a good faith offer, then fairness is a casualty of a greedy process.
We know that some who use eminent domain “low ball” property owners and dare them to challenge the offer in court. Once there, all the advantages fall on the taker, either government or corporate. Their pockets are deeper and they can outlast that unfortunate property owner.
In the next legislative session, this must be fixed. Property owners in Texas do not have much confidence they’ll be treated fairly when the takers come calling. Fairness and property rights need to be more than lip service to a Texas ideal that doesn’t really exist. But it can. It should.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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