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Commissioner Staples urges governor to include eminent domain reform in upcoming special session


Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is working to ensure private property owners' rights are protected by encouraging Governor Perry to put eminent domain reform on the agenda when he calls a special session.

"Private property owners' rights are fundamental to our state and national constitutions," Commissioner Staples said. "Texans are becoming more concerned about the erosion of these fundamental rights. Now is the opportunity to address these concerns during the expected special session."

In a recent letter, Commissioner Staples asked Governor Perry to strongly consider placing eminent domain reform on the call for legislators to debate during the session.

"It would be extremely unfortunate for the reform language that I understand you and others carefully negotiated during the regular session to remain nothing more than a victim of the chub," Commissioner Staples wrote.

In addition to supporting comprehensive protections for property owners during the 81st Legislative Session, Commissioner Staples supported the passage of HJR 14, a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot this November. It provides much-needed protection to ensure when government exercises condemnation power, it's for a clear public purpose. Commissioner Staples believes HJR 14 is critical, but greater steps are necessary to protect landowners.

"The independent Texas spirit is embedded in our rights to own land. Legislators must have the opportunity to pass a law that establishes stricter penalties for failing to negotiate in good faith and ensures adequate compensation for loss of access," Commissioner Staples said.

Governor Perry has indicated a special session will take place, but a start date for the session has not been determined. When the governor calls a special session of the legislature outside of the regular session schedule of every other year, the only items eligible for consideration are those designated by the governor.

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