SB 740 was heard before the Senate State Affairs Committee Monday. The bill, authored by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, takes several steps to protect private property owners from abuse in the eminent domain process whereby land is taken by private corporations and government entities for the “public good.”
Clayton Henry, a rancher from Wichita Falls, testified in favor of SB 740 on behalf of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). Henry also serves on TSCRA’s board of directors and executive committee. In his testimony, he provided compelling reasons for reform within the eminent domain process.
“Private law abiding citizens should not emerge from the eminent domain process battered, bruised and financially poorer by the deeds of condemnors who are acting as agents of the State of Texas,” said Henry in his testimony before the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Other ranchers, landowners and TSCRA members also testified in favor of the bill. Karen Thorpe of Winters and Reed Stewart of Sterling City both gave telling accounts of their own battles with eminent domain condemnors. In Thorpe’s case, high voltage power lines were set to run directly over their house, but ultimately were built over their family cemetery. Stewart’s experience entailed a condemnor who filed a restraining order against him on his own property.
TSCRA would like to thank Sen. Kolkhorst for her championship of SB 740, and Senate State Affairs Chairwoman Joan Huffman for hearing the bill. Landowners look forward to the legislation being voted favorably from the Senate State Affairs Committee and passage by the full Senate.
Full video of the testimony can be found here.