The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) today applauded the Senate State Affairs Committee for passing Senate Bill 18, a bill to reform the process of eminent domain in the state of Texas. The bill will now make its way to the Senate floor for a vote.

"The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association has fought long and hard to reform the eminent domain and condemnation laws in Texas. Senate Bill 18 focuses on fair compensation and a more balanced condemnation process," TSCRA President Dave Scott, of Richmond, said.

"Members of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association are highly supportive of legislation that levels the playing field for property owners through good faith condemnation negotiations and offers fair compensation for property loss.

"TSCRA applauds the work of Senator Estes, Senator Duncan and Senator Hegar on this much needed legislation. Property owners across Texas are glad to see a bill move forward that respects the property owner," Scott continued.

SB 18 prohibits condemnation of land for private use. It improves procedures to initiate eminent domain proceedings by requiring any actions by governmental entities to be done in public and by a record vote.

Additionally, the bill would require a bona fide offer by the condemning entity. If no bona fide offer is made, SB 18 would require the condemnor to pay all fees incurred by the property owner.

The bill would also allow for a property owner to be compensated for a material impairment of direct access on or off the remaining property if it affects the market value of the remaining property. It goes further to define "direct access" as ingress or egress on or off a public road, street or highway at a location or locations where the remaining property adjoins that road, street or highway.

The bill allows for a property owner or their heirs to repurchase the property at the price paid to the owner when the property was acquired if the land is not used for public use in a timely manner.