Austin, Tx.—The Institute for Justice Texas Chapter issued a warning today to property owners across Texas: despite politicians’ claims to the contrary, Senate Bill 18, which passed through the Texas Senate yesterday, will not end eminent domain abuse in Texas. The Institute litigated the infamous Kelo eminent domain case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and its Austin-based Texas Chapter has led the way to eminent domain reform in the Lone Star State.
“As it stands, SB 18 represents a bait and switch on Texas property owners,” said Matt Miller, executive director of the Institute for Justice Texas Chapter (IJ-TX). “This bill helps protect rural property owners but leaves urban and suburban property owners exposed to private development schemes.” The definition of “public use”—which was the entire focus of the Kelo litigation—was stripped from the bill in committee. All that’s left is a collection of procedural safeguards. Although helpful, those provisions do not address the central problem of Kelo.
Full release can be read here.