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HB 1575, if passed, would modify the Property Code (Section 74.101) by enlarging reporting requirements for unclaimed mineral proceeds to the comptroller of public accounts.
Currently the code requires that in property reports for property which is presumed to be abandoned, the following information is required: the name social security number, state identification number, e-mail address, and physical address of each individual who is recorded as owner of the property, each individual who appears to be an owner of the property, and any individual entitled to the property. The report must also include: a description of the property, property identification number, balance of each account, the date on which the property became payable, demandable, or returnable, and the date of the last transaction concerning the property. The comptroller is also permitted to require that any other information be disclosed if deemed necessary.
HB 1575 would require even more information to be required in this report including: the survey name of the well, Railroad Commission W-1 forms, General Land Office abstract numbers, GPS coordinates for the location of the well, and any identification information associated with leases associated with the well.
SB 1589 would have both positive and minor negative affects on the current Property Code regime. On the one hand the bill could potentially protect property rights as more information regarding wells would be available which could make it easier for the owners of unclaimed mineral proceeds to claim what is rightfully theirs.
On the other hand, the bill increases the requirements for a property report which is already rather thorough. Strictly speaking the bill might not even be necessary. The Unclaimed Mineral Proceeds Commission requested that this information be included to retrieve unclaimed mineral proceeds. However the code already allows the comptroller to require any additional information if need be and, if such unclaimed proceeds cannot be claimed under the current regime, it is possible that they will still remain unclaimed if new reporting requirements are adopted.
Still, these concerns are minor compared to the positive impact this bill would have on property rights. The report is already a requirement and the additional information that would be required does not appear to be anything the producers wouldn't already have on hand.
Considering these things in balance, the property rights enhancement outweighs the other concerns expressed. Therefore we support SB 1589.