Skip to comments.Farmers upset over Perry veto of eminent domain bill
Posted on 06/18/2007 5:18:03 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
LUBBOCK, Texas One Central Texas farmer said Monday he was "dumbfounded" by Gov. Rick Perry's veto of an eminent domain bill designed to protect landowners when the state wants to take their property.
Robert Fleming is not alone in an area worried about the massive Trans Texas Corridor proposal. The planned route cuts through Fleming's Bell County farms. He's bewildered by Perry's veto.
"We were so close to getting something done," Fleming said. "We've worked hard trying to get private property rights."
Perry vetoed the bill, and 48 others, Friday.
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kelo et al v. City of New London that cities can seize homes under eminent domain for use by private developers. Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall said the ruling also said that states that want it otherwise can craft laws to do so. That's what the bill Perry vetoed would have done, he said.
The Trans Texas Corridor is the plan kick-started several years ago by Perry to build 4,000-plus miles of tollways and railways that would incorporate oil and gas pipelines, utility and water lines, and even broadband data.
One reason Perry gave for vetoing the bill was that it would have expanded damages a landowner could recover to include diminished access to roads from remaining property when a portion of the property is condemned, according to a release from Perry's office.
Also, landowners would have been able to collect damages for factors that include changes in traffic patterns and a property's visibilty from the road, which Texas courts have knocked down because of the added costs to public projects that taxpayers would have to pay, the release states.
After the bill passed both houses 125 of 150 votes in the House and unanimously in the Senate Perry's office heard from most fast-growing cities and counties asking him to veto the bill; the cost of constructing state and local projects would have increased by more than $1 billion, the release stated.
"As someone who grew up in rural Texas, and farmed our family's piece of land, I am a strong proponent of protecting private property rights," Perry said in the statement. "But the issue is one of fairness to taxpayers, who will get fleeced in order to benefit condemnation attorneys."
Perry supported the bill early on but had objections to amendments added later, the release states.
The eminent domain issue for portions of the corridor proposal currently is on a back burner, Texas Farm Bureau officials said.
"The more time we have to spread our story and to make an issue out of (eminent domain) is certainly going to help the property owners," said Fleming, who grows corn and wheat, and raises cattle.
Bureau officials said they believed Perry wanted to fix Texas' eminent domain law, having met with him early in the session.
"The taking of private property has become far too easy in this state," Kenneth Dierschke, president of the bureau, said in a statement. "Obviously, there are many powerful interests that prefer it stay that way."
Fleming took aim at Perry, saying he has turned his back on agriculture and his veto makes that clear.
"I feel like he's let us down a little bit," Fleming said. "He's got big ag background but since he's become a politician, he's kind of left ag out."
Bureau spokesman Gene Hall said the group will work to revisit the issue when legislators next gather in regular session in 2009. And they will talk with Perry.
"All we can do now is talk with him and work with him," Hall said. "We are serious about this."
On the Net:
Texas Farm Bureau: http://www.txfb.org
Trans-Texas Corridor: http://www.keeptexasmoving.com
Betsy Blaney has been the AP's Lubbock correspondent since 2001 and regularly reports on agricultural issues.
Perry's veto shows he cares more about the Trans-Texas Corridor than Texans' property rights, says David Morris
By: David Morris
Issue date: 6/18/07 Section: Opinion
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the infamous Kelo v. New London case that private property is not an inherent right, but merely a privilege granted by the state. This ruling expanded the power of eminent domain and abandoned all previous understanding of the Takings Clause of the fifth amendment when it concluded that condemning, or the government taking your property despite the failure to reach a mutually amicable agreement, for economic development falls under the rubric of "public use." And so, what the state giveth, the state taketh away to make room for strip malls and business districts.
Luckily for Texans, the Texas legislature made an effort to right this wrong, passing House Bill 2006 at the end of May, just before the end of the 80th session. The aim of HB 2006 was to restrict the power of eminent domain by narrowly defining what constitutes "public use," and thereby restore the property rights of Texas citizens. An impartial observer might think that Gov. Perry would jump at the opportunity to reassure Texans that their rights are of paramount importance and held near and dear to his heart by signing this bill into law.
Instead, Perry vetoed the bill on Friday, saying, "The state and local government would be over-paying to acquire land through eminent domain in order to enrich a finite number of condemnation lawyers at the expense of Texas taxpayers. This bill will slow down and shut down needed construction projects through the creation of a new category of damages that are beyond the pale of reason." When all else fails, blame the lawyers.
However, we are left to wonder whether Perry's concern ultimately lies with the lining of lawyer's pockets at taxpayer expense, or the potentially harmful affect of HB 2006 on one of Perry's pet projects - the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Spawned approximately five years ago, the Trans-Texas Corridor can be aptly described as a massive blight upon the face of Texas, which will split the Lone Star state in two. Plans so far call for building what amounts to a 1,200 foot wide highway stretching from Mexico to north of Dallas. The problems with this project are legion, among them, the potential environmental impact of a 1,200 foot wide, 600 mile long highway, the taking of private lands, diverting travel, and therefore income, from other areas of Texas and that it is designed as a revenue source first and transportation project second. Considering that 97 percent of Texas is privately owned, this project requires a major buy up of private property, which would have been hindered by the provisions of HB 2006.
Of course, HB 2006 is not the only piece of legislation that Perry has vetoed that would have limited the Trans-Texas Corridor. He also vetoed HB 1892 in mid-May, which would have given more control over development of transportation projects to local governments, as well as placing a moratorium on the Trans-Texas Corridor.
And so the Governor has let the people of Texas know that their rights play second fiddle to "economic development," and until the next legislative session, we must live with the fact that our property is not our own. To those whose property lies in the way of the Trans-Texas Corridor juggernaut or whose scenic property would make a fantastic site for a new shopping mall: good luck. Thanks to the egregious ruling of Kelo and Perry's plans for Texas, you'll have no protection from the sticky fingers of the government for two more years.
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
Anyone know if Texas state law allows for a recall election?
New New World Order. If this has to take place then it will. Some things have to happen in order for the Final Days to pass. Apocalypse
Perry and his buddy Jorge are birds of a feather, once bought they stay bought.
The more I look at his record, the more I conclude that Rick Perry sucks.
Just one leftist looking out for other leftists’ interests.
I swear, it’s like the Manchurian Candidate. Both Rick and W..They seem to be up to anything but going against THE SYSTEM.
Whatever happened to limited government?
Where to go now? Damn.
I would love to know,,,,
On the bright side, none of the Republican candidates for President are closely aligned with Bush.
(Clintonfatigued wrote: “On the bright side, none of the Republican candidates for President are closely aligned with Bush.”)
Nor do many of them seem to be aligned with conservatism. In many ways, it all seems so simple with some of the major issues:
1. The bill Perry just vetoed was meant to stop land grabs by making the process too expensive for the grabbers...that’s exactly why he vetoed it. WTF?
2. The current senate immigration bill is by ALL measures a loser with voters. So, because of that, the wonderful senators are pushing it so that they can maybe get different voters who won’t give them so much feedback...while retaining their big donors...just sucks.
I used to be an optimist.
However, most of them share Bush’s anti-American Globalist agenda...save except for Hunter, Tancredo, and Paul.
Perry seems to be another anti-American Globalist
“”All we can do now is talk with him and work with him,” Hall said. “We are serious about this.”
Good luck! Rino rick at work.
I dont think there is a recall in for the gov in texas
Stupid Texas farmers. Did they actually believe that they would get just compensation for land siezed from them by the govt? HAHAHA. Why sure.
Well they lost one donor (though not a big one) - ME! Lost me last summer with the first amnesty attempt.
During re-election Perry was talking tough on immigration and even critized Bush. Days after the election he 360 on every topic.
Gov. Perry said on Dec. 6th to a gathering of border mayors that building a wall along the border with Mexico is a “preposterous” idea.
“Now, strategic fencing in certain urban areas to direct the flow of traffic does make sense, but building a wall on the entire border is a preposterous idea.”
“The only thing a wall would possibly accomplish is to help the ladder business.”
I believed that leaving Palm Beach County, FL for Texas would be a breath of fresh conservative air. Since we’ve been here, we’ve seen the TransCorridor, illegals sitting everywhere in groups, waiting for the next truck to pick them up and Perry’s vetoes. We’re also becoming schooled in the local ISD’s powers of Eminent Domain, and all their private meetings discussing land purchases (grabs). All of it is just sickening.