AUSTIN- Bill Peacock, Director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, will testify before the House Land & Resources Committee in support of House Bill 20 on Monday, April 15, at 2:00 p.m. in Room E2.016 of the Texas State Capitol. HB 20 would protect property rights by requiring private property taken under the threat of eminent domain to be used for the public use for which it was taken.
“Neither the law nor the courts have left any doubt about the fact that private property can only be taken through eminent domain if that property is necessary for a public use. This requirement is one of the fundamental protections of private property, enshrined in both the United States and Texas constitutions,” said Peacock. “Common sense would seem to dictate that if a condemner is allowed only to take property that is necessary for a public use then the condemner would be required to use that property for the public use for which it was taken. Yet in the absence of an outright prohibition of this in statute, the courts have declined to develop such a doctrine. The end result is that property, once taken, can be used for justabout anything the condemner chooses.”
Peacock concluded, “HB 20 restores this fundamental protection for property rights. It also extends this protection to property acquired under the threat of eminent domain. Condemners say that only a small amount of property is acquired by eminent domain, but this is simply not the case. While most property ownersdon’t wind up in court fighting a taking, they nonetheless are being forced to sell their property under the threat of eminent domain.”
Bill Peacock is the Vice President of Research and Director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
TheTexas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.