Texas eminent domain lawyer Clay Beard, a partner at Dawson & Sodd, recently spoke at a meeting of Texans for Property Rights. This coalition of Texas organizations advocates for improving landowners’ rights in state eminent domain laws.
About Texans for Property Rights
Texans for Property Rights is a grassroots effort made up of 15 organizations advocating for changes to Texas laws to create a fairer process for landowners in eminent domain law. Member organizations currently include:
- Texas Farm Bureau
- Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
- Texas Wildlife Association
- Texas Forestry Association
- South Texans’ Property Rights Association
- Texas Poultry Association
- Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association
- Independent Cattlemen’s Association
- Texas Grain Sorghum Association
- Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
- Corn Producers Association of Texas
- Riverside & Landowners Protection Coalition
- Texas Land & Mineral Owners
Eminent domain allows government entities, and private companies acting under government authority, to force the sale of private property that is needed for a public use project, such as building a highway.
Approximately 95% of Texas land is privately owned. That’s a lot of landowners who could potentially be affected by eminent domain projects at any given time. While Texas law requires that landowners be given just compensation for their land, there are many ways the law leaves landowners at a disadvantage.
Texans for Property Rights is working to change these laws and give landowners a process that is fair, respectful to their rights, and creates a more level playing field for landowners.
Changes Are Needed
The organization has had some success in getting laws changed for the better, but there’s still more work to do, according to the Texans for Property Rights website. Among the successes is a 2008 voter-approved amendment to the Texas Constitution that prohibits eminent domain for the purpose of economic development.
Other improvements to current laws that Texans for Property rights is advocating for include:
- Reimbursement of landowner costs & expenses.
- A bonding requirement by the condemning entity to ensure payment to landowner.
- Changes in appraisal requirements that currently favor the condemning entity.
- More specific explanation of what a bona fide offer from condemning entity should include.
- Allow freely negotiated comparable sales as evidence in valuation of easements.
The Oct. 27 meeting of Texans for Property Rights was held in Corsicana. Dawson & Sodd’s Clay Beard spoke to those assembled about the condemnation process in general and what these legislative efforts and what they mean for landowners.
About Clay Beard
Clay Beard has represented the interests of business and individual landowners in eminent domain cases for more than 25 years. He has represented clients in numerous courts against a wide range of condemning authorities, including:
- The State of Texas
- Numerous counties and municipalities
- North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)
- Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium
- The Superconducting Super Collider cases
- Midway Airport
- Numerous pipeline cases and electricity companies
If you’re a Texas landowner who has received notice that your property is being condemned under eminent domain laws, contact Dawson & Sodd today.