Farmers Upset Over Perry Veto of Eminent Domain Bill - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/19/07

Farmers Upset Over Perry Veto of Eminent Domain Bill

One Texas farmer is "dumbfounded" over Governor Rick Perry's veto of an eminent domain bill to protect landowners -- when the state wants to take their property.

The Associated Press reports Robert Fleming isn't alone in an area worried about the massive Trans Texas Corridor proposal. The planned route cuts through Fleming's Bell County farms.

Perry vetoed the bill, and 48 others, on Friday.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Connecticut case 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. Hall says that's what the bill Perry vetoed would have done.

The Trans Texas Corridor proposal would involve more than 4,000 miles of tollways and railways. Those would incorporate oil and gas pipelines, utility and water lines, and even broadband data.

Perry says he vetoed the bill because 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.

Also, landowners would have been able to collect damages for factors that include changes in traffic patterns and a property's visibility from the road, which Texas courts have knocked down because of the added costs to public projects that taxpayers would have to pay.

Perry says he's a strong proponent of protecting private property rights. But the governor says the issue is one of fairness to taxpayers, who will get "fleeced" in order to benefit condemnation attorneys.

Courtesy: Associated Press

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