The View From Austin

The view from Austin: Weighing in on eminent domain

Aug. 14, 2020

Progress in Washington on the next round of coronavirus relief has officially ground to a halt. Negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders were already deadlocked for the most part, but the Senates decision to break for the August recess means any action will be pushed until at least Sept. 3, when they are set to return.

Informal discussions are likely to continue, so Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s government and public affairs staff will remain vigilant. Also, lawmakers will be back in their districts, and many will be campaigning for reelection. This means you and other constituents will have more opportunity to see your elected officials and discuss the issues that are important to you and your community. It’s a great time to get involved, and I highly encourage everyone to do so!

Despite the deadlock on coronavirus aid, there was some good news to come out of Washington this week. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (DOT-FMCSA) announced another 30-day extension on hours of service exemptions for livestock and feed haulers. The full order is available on the FMCSA website, here.

Also this week, TSCRA submitted comments to the Texas House Committee on Land and Resource Management on several interim charges related to eminent domain. After every legislative session, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House issue interim charges to their respective committees. The charges usually ask the committees to follow up on enacted legislation to see how it is working or to study an issue that arose during the prior session, but that did not get resolved.

Each committee will then usually hold one or more hearings to gather public input on their charges, but because of coronavirus, the House Committee on Land and Resource Management elected to solicit written comments.

TSCRA weighed in with comments on two of the charges, both related to eminent domain. You can read the comments on the Landowner Bill of rights by clicking or tapping here, and a landowner’s right to repurchase previously condemned property by clicking or tapping here.

With that, I’m going to sign off for this week, so you have ample time to read our comments!

Until next time.

-Jeremy

Jeremy Fuchs is the director of pubic affairs for Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

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