Katy Eymann will work to protect the landowners from the threat of eminent domain by a private foreign corporation. Katy supports adopting a Landowner Bill of Rights that will strengthen landowners’ rights and state that your property can only be taken for a public use.
Acquiring private property through Eminent Domain for interstate natural gas pipelines dates back to the Natural Gas Act of 1938, which dictates the procedures for its use.
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision (Kelo v. City of New London) the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
In their dissent, Justice O’Connor, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas said that the use of this taking power was a reverse Robin Hood fashion—taking from the poor and giving to the rich.
At the same time, however, the Supreme Court made it clear that states could limit eminent domain via their legislature. In essence, the court said to the states that this decision was a matter of policy and that in addressing this policy question, legislatures should consider their constituents’ outrage as part of the democratic process. In the 10 years after this decision, 45 states have considered or enacted legislation to limit the use of eminent domain.
Landowner Bill of Rights
Whereas the term eminent domain means the taking of property authorized by the government;
Whereas the that the United States Constitution states:
Amendment 5. No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Whereas, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the government can declare a private use a public use;
Whereas, landowners in Oregon are threatened with the use of eminent domain by a private corporation;
Whereas, Texas has adopted the following Landowner Bill of Rights to protect landowners:
- You are entitled to receive adequate compensation if your property is taken for a public use
- Your property can only be taken for a public use.
- Your property can only be taken by a governmental entity or private entity authorized by law to do so.
- The entity that wants to take your property must notify you about its interest in taking your property.
- The entity proposing to take your property must provide you with an assessment of the adequate compensation for your property.
- The entity proposing to take your property must make a bona fide offer to buy the property before it files a lawsuit to condemn the property.
- You may hire an appraiser or other professional to determine the value of your property or to assist you in any condemnation proceeding.
- You may hire an attorney to negotiate with the condemning entity and to represent you in any legal proceedings involving the condemnation.
- Before your property is condemned, you are entitled to a hearing before a court-appointed panel that includes three special commissioners. This specialized hearing panel must determine the amount of compensation the condemning entity owes for the taking of your property. The commissioners must also determine what compensation, if any, you are entitled to receive for any reduction in value of your remaining property.
- If you are unsatisfied with the compensation awarded by the special commissioners, or if you question whether the taking of your property was proper, you have the right to a trial by a judge or jury. If you are dissatisfied with the trial court’s judgment, you may appeal that decision.